From left, Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden participate in a debate in Feb. 2020 in Charleston, S.C. | Win McNamee/Getty Images
After months of crowded Democratic presidential debates featuring up to 12 people on stage at once, this month’s showdown in Phoenix will almost certainly include just two candidates: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.
In order to qualify for the March 15 debate on CNN and Univision, candidates need to have earned at least 20 percent of the pledged delegates awarded as of that date, the Democratic National Committee announced Friday.
That’s a mark that both Biden and Sanders easily clear, according to the latest delegate tally after Super Tuesday. As of Friday afternoon, Biden had earned 48 percent of delegates awarded thus far, while Sanders had 41 percent. (Some delegates have not yet been awarded from states that held primaries this week on Super Tuesday.)
Tulsi Gabbard, the last remaining active candidate, does not approach that number, having only earned 2 delegates so far, about 0.1 percent of delegates thus far. Gabbard has not participated in the last five debates, having not hit those thresholds to participate either.
The Phoenix debate, the 11th debate this primary season, will be hosted by CNN and Univision in partnership with CHC BOLD, the political arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
CNN’s Dana Bash and Jake Tapper, along with Univision’s Jorge Ramos, will moderate the debate, and Univision’s Ilia Calderón also will “facilitate audience questions,” the networks announced. The debate is scheduled to run from 8 p.m. through 10 p.m. Eastern Time.
The debate will come two days before Arizona’s primary ,which is on March 17. Florida, Illinois and Ohio will also vote that day.
A 12th debate is still being planned, a DNC official told POLITICO.