What to know about Detroit's Democratic presidential debates

The Democratic National Committee has announced the two groups of presidential hopefuls who will participate in the July 30-31 debates at Detroit's Fox Theatre. Learn more about them.

The Democratic Party recognized Michigan's importance as a key battleground in the 2020 presidential race by scheduling the second round of presidential debates Tuesday and Wednesday in Detroit at the Fox Theatre.

Ten candidates will participate each night in forums starting each evening at 8 p.m. CNN will broadcast the two-hour debates. The cable network will live stream the debates online in their entirety for anyone to view on the CNN homepage, mobile devices and apps. Users will not be required to log in with their cable provider.

Check out The Detroit News' overview of the debate line-ups, candidate profiles, Michigan-related campaign issues, fundraising and candidate-related news.


CNN anchors randomly picked the lineups for this month's Detroit presidential debates during a drawing televised live on the evening of July 18.

Read more about the debate line-ups>>


Here is information about the 20 qualifying debate candidates and the Democratic presidential hopefuls who didn't make the cut for the Detroit stage. 

Read more about the candidates>>

Meet the candidates in interactive graphic>>

Major moments in the first debate>>


U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders greets supporters on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at Macomb County Community College in Warren.

Bernie Sanders backers mobilize early in hopes of Michigan primary repeat

Supporters who helped Bernie Sanders win Michigan's Democratic presidential primary in 2016 have reactivated operations and quickly established what they call an unrivaled early ground game in the state. But as Sanders returns to Detroit for the second set of Democratic debates, some of his most ardent fans fear the unusually large field of candidates — and particularly Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — will split the progressive vote and complicate his prospects for a Michigan repeat.

Read more about Sanders' backers>>

Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson speaks during the 110th NAACP Convention at Cobo Center, in Detroit, Michigan on July 23, 2019.

Republican strategists vow to keep Democrat Williamson in debates

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, whose New Age style of speaking earned notice in the Miami debates in June, has attracted a surprising contingent of supporters — conservative Republicans. 

Read more about Williamson's GOP donors>>

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker answers questions from media during a visit to the NAACP convention at Cobo Center in Detroit.

Dem presidential hopefuls make their pitch at NAACP convention

Democratic presidential candidates — and one Republican — accused President Donald Trump of stoking racial tensions and used the July 24 national NAACP forum to outline plans for investments in minority communities and criminal justice reforms.

Read more about NAACP forum>>

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, talks on Wednesday (July 24, 2019) with Mika’il Stewart Saadiq of the Michigan Muslim Community Council, Sheikh Ahmed Hammoud of the Islamic Center of America and Shaykh Mohamad Almasmari of the Muslim Unity Center.

Biden defends Tlaib against 'go back' attack

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden defended U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Detroit against continued attacks from Republican President Donald Trump. ‘“Go back home?’ Does he know here home is Michigan?” Biden said. “C’mon man. ‘Send her back?’ We gotta send him back.” Trump sparked controversy this month when he called on Tlaib and three other congresswomen of color — all U.S. citizens — to “go back” where they came from. 

Read more about Biden's defense>>

Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a house party at former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's house, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Waukee, Iowa.

At Detroit fundraiser, Biden promises to be less 'polite' in second debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke to more than 100 donors at a fundraiser in Detroit, blasting Republican President Donald Trump while promising to be less "polite” with fellow Democrats in next week's second presidential debate.

Read more about Biden's promise>>

O'Rourke to Flint: 'This country has your back'

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke laid out his plans Wednesday for a host of national and social issues for residents packed into a business incubator space in the city's downtown. O’Rourke spoke on immigration reform, access to education, affordable health care, protections for the gay community and climate change, which he called the “greatest existential challenge” facing the nation and planet.

Read more about O'Rourke stop>>

Bernie Sanders backs Line 5 shutdown

Bernie Sanders joined environmental activists calling for a shutdown of Enbridge’s controversial Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Read more about Sanders and Line 5>>

Theresa Landrum, a member of the 48217 community monitoring group, points out features of the Marathon refinery in southwest Detroit to Washington Governor and democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee during a tour of the neighborhood.

Inslee: Enbridge Line 5 'a clear and present threat'

Democratic presidential hopeful Jay Inslee, who has made climate change the focus of his campaign, is speaking out against Enbridge's Line 5 and calling on other candidates to join him in opposing the oil and gas pipeline. The dual pipelines that run below the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan — along with a proposed tunnel that would house a replacement — are "a clear and present threat to the health of the Great Lakes and to our climate,” Inslee said in a statement.

Read more about Inslee and Line 5>>

Gillibrand touts plans for 'clean elections' and gun reform

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand spoke of the tragedy of gun violence in America and the need for "clean elections" at an Oakland County town hall. The U.S. senator from New York detailed some of the meetings she's had with parents and families who have lost loved ones because of gun violence at the first of three planned stops in Michigan.

Read more about Gillibrand's tour>>


Detroiters to Dems: Don't overlook us like in 2016

Detroit officials and civil rights leaders say the predominately black city — which remains the poorest in the nation despite its downtown resurgence — is a logical venue for Democrats to confront historic inequalities and issues that matter to minorities who felt overlooked in 2016.

Read more about Detroiters' concerns>>

Busing set off debate flare, but does it still matter in Detroit?

A viral debate exchange between two Democratic presidential candidates in Miami is likely to follow them later this month to the debates in Detroit, where the issue of busing and school integration nearly five decades ago has complicated roots. The busing debate in Pontiac and Detroit in the early 1970s involved well-known political figures, bus explosions by the Ku Klux Klan and fractured views on how urban schools should be desegregated. 

Read more about busing>>

Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan for lunch on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at Brome in Dearborn.

Michigan leaders hold off as Democratic hopefuls seek endorsements

Democratic presidential hopefuls have been eager to connect with party leaders in Michigan, though few high-profile endorsements are flowing ahead of the debates in Detroit. Most top elected officials in Michigan are holding off on endorsing in the race, but they're clearly pleased the state and its issues are getting high-profile attention.

Read more about endorsements>>

Poll: Michigan voters oppose Medicare for All

A majority of Michigan voters oppose a strict Medicare for All proposal that would eliminate private health insurance, according to a new statewide poll released Thursday ahead of next week's Democratic presidential debates in Detroit. But the survey of 600 likely Michigan voters shows the government-run single-payer health care proposal is popular among "strong" Democrats and supported by a plurality of voters who "lean" Democratic, pointing to a challenge for presidential candidates attempting to win the primary without hurting their chances in a general election.

Read more about poll>>

Will Detroit debates rev up auto, trade issues among Democrats?

Workers, auto industry officials and political experts expect the Democratic presidential candidates will address issues such as trade, auto emissions rules and the future of manufacturing when they debate in Detroit. Among the auto-related issues that remain unresolved in Washington, D.C., are a proposed agreement to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, gas mileage rules for rapidly approaching model years and regulations about driverless vehicles.

Read more about auto, trade issues>>

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg listens to a woman as he campaigns, Friday, July 12, 2019, in Rochester, N.H.


Democrats chase Trump in Michigan fundraising; Buttigieg leads Dem pack

Three Democratic presidential hopefuls reported at least $100,000 in contributions from Michigan residents in the second quarter, but Republican President Donald Trump raised more than the top two combined in the important swing state.

Read more about Michigan fundraising>>

Trump, Sanders raise big bucks from Michigan donors

President Donald Trump's record fundraising numbers to start the year included a strong showing among donors in Michigan, where the first-term Republican outpaced a large field of Democratic candidates preparing for a primary fight. Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders nearly doubled fundraising totals from other Democrats in Michigan.

Read more about presidential fundraising>>