It’s time for round two.
CNN’s two-night Democratic primary debate will offer a rematch of former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris, whose clash over race became the most closely watched moment of the first round of debates. Biden and Harris will debate in Detroit on Wednesday, July 31.
The match-ups mean Biden, much like the first debate, will be the center of attention, drawing fire not only from Harris, but also from Booker, who has also shown a willingness to slam the former vice president for comments he made about his ability to be civil and work with segregationist senators.
The debates will also, for the first time, offer a match-up between Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the two top progressives in the Democratic primary. The duo – who will debate on Tuesday, July 30 – were not on the same stage during the first debate.
The lineups for each night were announced on air during a live, random draw for transparency around the event. There were three distinct draws based on polling: One to divide the bottom 10 candidates, one to divide the middle six candidates and one to divide the top four candidates.
The 20 candidates who qualified for the debate stage, based on rules outlined by the Democratic National Convention were: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Harris, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, Sanders, Warren, author Marianne Williamson and businessman Andrew Yang.
On July 30, these candidates will be on stage:
On July 31, the candidates who will debate are:
Though the dynamics of the race are remarkably fluid, the draw leaves Sanders and Biden missing an opportunity to confront each other. That’s in part because they will again be separated from each other. Both seem to be relishing their ongoing clash over health care, but they won’t have a chance to duke it out on the debate stage and grab the headlines they both want.
“Mark the date: July 31, 2019. @JoeBiden finally gets his own Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing,” tweeted Michael Tyler, spokesman for the Booker campaign.
For Biden, a rematch with Harris risks another long conversation about his complicated record on race. Booker, too, will likely see an opportunity to hit Biden over his past comments about working with segregationist senators.
But for Biden, it could be an opportunity to make a strong showing after a shaky first debate performance.
The first night’s debate will feature most of the Democratic field’s moderate voices – alongside Sanders and Warren, the race’s two top progressive candidates.