On Thursday night, CNN held a live lottery draw to announced the nightly lineup for the upcoming Democratic debate on July 30 and 31. The big question was whether former vice president Joe Biden would be on stage with Sen. Kamala Harris, and the results have once again put the two top contenders together on the same night.
Second Democratic debate nightly lineups
The debate will air on CNN with live-streaming on CNN.com as well.
Night 1: Tuesday, July 30
8 pm ET, 5 pm PT
Candidates: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Steve Bullock, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan, and Marianne Williamson
Night 2: Wednesday, July 31
8 pm ET, 5 pm PT
Candidates: Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Andrew Yang, Michael Bennet, Bill de Blasio, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Gov. Jay Inslee
Biden vs. Harris, again?
Statistics being what they are, it wasn’t unlikely that once again Biden and Harris would share the stage on the same night. However, as Vox reports, the lottery wasn’t entirely random:
The drawing wasn’t entirely a random one — beforehand, CNN split the candidates into three groups depending on how they were polling, and ensured each group would be split evenly among the two debate nights. Then, there was a drawing from each group.
That is: each debate night was guaranteed to feature two of the four top-polling candidates, three of the six middle-tier candidates, and five of the ten bottom-tier candidates. This methodology was designed to avoid a situation where, in a purely random drawing, too many of the top candidates would be placed together.
That methodology is not unlike the lottery run by NBC before the first debate, but it looks like CNN has come up with a better mix of candidates when compared to the June lineups.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is will still be appearing on the first night, but at least she has Sen. Bernie Sanders to spar with as one of her direct rivals reaching for the same group of Democratic primary voters. This is a matchup that probably means more for Warren than anyone else since she’s desperately trying to wrestle this mantle from Bernie and grab the progressive lane from him. So far, she’s been managing to make it happen as she has eroded some of his support while her numbers rise. Look for her to continue drawing contrasts with Bernie while trying to speak more toward actual pieces of legislation she has for various issues.
Night two will feature Biden and Harris as the only top tier candidates with Pete Buttigieg having been drawn for the first night. The result will be, of course, a continuation of the discussion and attack from Harris which started a week-long news frenzy over how Biden was unable to adequately respond and recover during the debate.
Tune in to CNN on July 30 and 31 and follow our debate schedule page for all the latest details on the second Democratic debate.