Your guide to the first debates of the 2020 presidential election

Your Local Election HQ

NBC4 Jobs

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– All eyes will be on Miami Wednesday and Thursday, including those of President Donald Trump all the way in Japan, as democratic presidential candidates will take the stage to debate for the first time.

Each two-hour debate will have 10 candidates hoping to oust President Trump in 2020. The candidates range widely in age, sex and backgrounds and include a former vice president, six women and a pair of mayors.

The first group of 10 appearing on Wednesday, June 26:

  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
  • Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
  • Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee

The second group of 10 appearing on Thursday, June 27:

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
  • Sen. Kamala Harris of California
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
  • Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
  • Author Marianne Williamson
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado

Former democratic state senator from eastern Ohio Lou Gentile says staying on message will be the key to success on the debate stage.

“It’s important I think, first and foremost, that candidates don’t make a mistake. We’ve seen careers end in a 50 second gaffe,” said Gentile.

The democratic strategist believes tonight’s underdog standout will be from here in Ohio.

“I think Congressman Ryan has done really well in recent weeks,” Gentile added. “I think he has a strong economic message particularly in the Rust Belt.”

“I want people to know where I’m from. I think saying I’m from the Mahoning Valley and Northeast Ohio gives everybody a picture that we’re one of the forgotten communities, and there a lot of other forgotten communities from around the country,” Ryan told NBC4 sister station WKBN. “I think it’s going to take someone like from our area to actually fix those problems.”

Gentile says he hopes to see civility among the candidates, but thinks the candidates with less traction or name recognition may be more vocal against their fellow democrats as a way to stand out.

“I think it’s possible for some of the candidates who are sort of in the basement to take some liberty and try to get recognized, but I think by and large, the message that they should be conveying is ‘we’re unified as a party to try to win the presidency in 2020,” he explained.


The debate will air live across NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m ET both nights.

NBC News’ Lester Holt, Savannah Guthrie and Chuck Todd, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Telemundo’s José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debate.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

NBC4 Jobs

Trending on

Today's Central OH Forecast

More Forecast

Don't Miss


Storm Team 4 on Alexa