CNN picks three moderators for Detroit Democratic debates

Payne Lubbers
The Detroit News
CNN news anchor Jake Tapper

Three of CNN's biggest names will moderate two crowded Democratic presidential debates later this month in Detroit, the cable television network announced Monday. 

Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper will ask the questions at the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned debates over two nights, July 30-31, at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, according to the network. 

Tapper is the network's chief Washington correspondent and anchors a one-hour weekday show on the news of the day along with the Sunday public affairs program, "State of the Union."

Bash is CNN's chief political correspondent and covered the 2016 Republican presidential candidates. Lemon, an African-American anchor in CNN's New York office, heads the weeknight show "CNN Tonight." 

CNN will conduct a live draw to determine which night each candidate will appear on the debate stage later this month. The draw to determine the lineup for each night will air live at 8 p.m., July 18 on the network.

To qualify for the June and July debates, candidates had to earn at least 1% support in three separate national or early-state polls conducted from Jan. 1 to two weeks before the given debate, or receive donations from at least 65,000 people across 20 different states.

While there are as many as 24 candidates seeking the party's 2020 presidential nomination, only 20 met the DNC's qualifications to participate in the June debate. 

Michigan will be an important battleground state for Democrats in the 2020 election because President Donald Trump won the traditionally blue state in 2016 election by his smallest margin, 10,704 votes.

A Republican had not won the state in a presidential election since 1988.

More than half of the Democratic candidates already have visited Michigan once in advance of the scheduled Detroit debates.