Top-polling candidates will be center-stage at first Democratic debates
The stages are now set for the first two Democratic debates next week in Miami.
NBC News, which is the media partner for the first debate, announced the candidates’ positions on stage for both debates on June 26 and June 27. The network previously said it was based on their polling numbers.
For the first night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas) will be sharing center stage. On the second night, that honor goes to former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The lineups, starting on stage right (viewers’ left) and moving across:
June 26: Bill de Blasio, Tim Ryan, Julián Castro, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi Gabbard, Jay Inslee and John Delaney.
June 27: Marianne Williamson, John Hickenlooper, Andrew Yang, Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Eric Swalwell.
Candidates have fretted about the lineup — in part because of height differences that could be exaggerated by standing next to a particularly tall candidate. (Bill de Blasio, for example, is reportedly 6-foot-5-inches, while Kamala Harris is about 5-foot-2).
“Now that I know height’s such a big thing,” the 6-foot-2 John Hickenlooper joked in an interview with POLITICO. “I might try to find some stiletto heels.”
It could also highlight age differences: Biden, 76, will have 37-year-old South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg beside him, for example — while the 77-year-old Sanders will be flanked by Harris, 54.
But the lineup also helps determines with whom candidates will share airtime when there are wider shots of the debate stage.
Yang, the still relatively unknown entrepreneur, is sandwiched in between a former governor, Hickenlooper and Buttigieg, a potential rising star counting on a strong debate performance.
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