CNN Sets Jake Tapper, Dana Bash And Don Lemon As Dem Debate Moderators; Candidates For Two-Night Event Will Be Divvied Up In Live Drawing

CNN’s Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper will moderate the network’s Democratic presidential primary debates over a two-night stretch July 30-31, the network announced today.

Like the recent debates on MSNBC, the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debates on CNN, live from Detroit, will be well-populated with presidential hopefuls: More than 20 Democratic candidates will take part, with the total count split across the two nights.

In fact, CNN will make a televised event of the selection itself: On July 18, in primetime, CNN will conduct a live draw to determine which candidates will appear on which debate night.

CNN will conduct a live draw to determine which night each candidate will appear in the highly anticipated Democratic presidential primary debates airing later this month on the network. In an article posted this morning on CNN’s website, a network spokesman noted that the line-up draw will air live July 18 in the 8 p.m. ET hour; additional details of the draw will be announced in the coming days.

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The eligibility rules for the debate are standard: Each of the 20 candidates must either register 1% support in three qualified polls or have 65,000 unique donors to their campaign, CNN says, with a minimum of 200 different donors per state in at least 20 states to qualify.

The debates will air live exclusively on CNN and CNN en Español, and will be simulcast on CNN International. They’ll also stream live without requiring log-in to a cable provider, exclusively to, CNN’s apps for iOS and Android and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, and Android TV.

According to the CNN post, the 20 candidates will be notified by the DNC and CNN on the evening of July 17, the night before the televised drawing.

If nothing else, the July 18 drawing suggests CNN’s confidence, or hope, that all-things-debate will continue to attract viewers: Just more than 18.1 million watched the NBC/MSNBC debate #2 on on June 27 on NBC, Telemundo and MSNBC, and 15.3 million tuned in for the first go-round the night before.

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