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Democrats pick Adrienne Arsht Center for Miami debate

About 15 Democrats already appear to have qualified for the debate.

Miami’s two-night debate of Democrats running for president will be held at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the Democratic National Committee announced Friday morning.

The debates, set for June 26 and 27, will feature the candidates who qualify under DNC rules among the 20 or so who are declared. The debates, which start at 9 p.m. each night, will be televised by NBC and its affiliated networks, including Telemundo.

The party’s rules for the debate call for at least 10 and up to 20 candidates to participate.

The Adrienne Arsht Center, opened in 2006 and owned by Miami-Dade County, has a seating capacity of 2,400.

“The DNC has chosen a perfect location in the Adrienne Arsht Center in downtown Miami,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo declared Friday morning. “The venue is located in the cultural crossroads of Florida and in the heart of one of the fastest growing multi-cultural communities in the United States. I can think of no better place for our Democratic candidates to introduce themselves to Florida and the country. The venue, the city and the historic occasion will be a time for all of our candidates, and our Democratic ideals, to shine.”

The DNC does not plan to announce the list of qualified candidates until about two weeks before the debate.

The candidates will qualify once they register 1 percent or more support in three polls, which include select national polls or select polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada. They also may qualify by achieving benchmarks in campaign donations. However, if 20 candidates qualify, other criteria will be used to reduce the field to 20.

So far, those criteria virtually assure inclusion of former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware, U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Cory Booker of New Jersey, and Kirsten Gillibrand; of New York; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan of Ohio, and Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; businessman Andrew Yang of New York; former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro of Texas; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; and Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana.

There are another half-dozen or so serious candidates who have declared their candidacies and another few who still are exploring.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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