Bullock joins Democratic debates in Detroit's field of 20 candidates

Melissa Nann Burke
The Detroit News
This June 27, 2019 file photo shows Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice-President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., on the second night of the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News in Miami.

A newcomer will take the Detroit debate stage later this month, joining 19 Democratic presidential candidates who debated in Miami, according to the list of qualifiers released Wednesday by the Democratic National Committee.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock will make his first appearance in the second round of debates after U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, who participated in the Miami forum last month, dropped out of the race on July 7.

"We need to have a conversation that isn’t detached from the realities people face in their everyday lives — the need for affordable health care, quality public schools, and an economy that ensures everyone has a fair shot at success,” Bullock said in a campaign statement.

"As the only candidate who has won and governed a Trump state, I’m focused on realistic solutions to the problems we’re facing — the first of which is ensuring we are competitive everywhere so we can beat Donald Trump.”

Analysts said 21 candidates actually qualified for the Detroit stage by Tuesday's cutoff, but the DNC limited participation to 20 candidates.

Former Alaska  U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel was left out under the committee's tie-breaking rules, which give greater weight to candidates who met the DNC's polling requirement by getting at least 1% of support in three or more qualifying surveys.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock

Among the candidates are U.S. Sens. Mike Bennet of Colorado, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Others include former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Tim Ryan of Ohio. 

Rounding out the field are former Reps. Steve Delaney and Beto O’Rourke, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, spiritual author Marianne Williamson and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

There will be 10 candidates on stage each night for Detroit's July 30 and July 31 debates, which are scheduled to run from 9-11 p.m. on CNN. 

The network plans to televise a live random drawing at 8 p.m. Thursday to decide which candidates will debate on which nights at Detroit's Fox Theatre. 

The two-hour forums will include opening and closing statements. The candidates get 60 seconds to respond to questions from moderators Jake Tapper, Don Lemon and Dana Bash, and 30 seconds for responses and rebuttals. Candidates attacked by name by another candidate get 30 seconds to respond.

But unlike the Miami debates — which were run by NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo — CNN doesn't plan any show-of-hands or one-word response, down-the-line questions.

In an effort to discourage candidate interruptions that cropped up during the Miami forums, CNN plans to reduce the time of any candidate who consistently interrupts the answers of other candidates.