HOUSTON -- The third Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight in Houston, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts sharing the debate stage for the first time this cycle, having previously avoided a direct confrontation as a result of the random draw process.
Democratic voters will see the current top three candidates — Biden, Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — share the stage together, setting up the ideological battle in the nominating race between the more moderate and progressive wings of the party.
For most of the other seven candidates sharing the stage, who have either failed to break into the top tier or have seen their positions stall in the Democratic race, the debate will be another chance to inject their candidacies with much-needed momentum heading into the fall sprint ahead of the first contests early next year.
What time is the debate?
8 to 11 p.m. ET
How can I watch it?
The debate will air on ABC and Univision (with Spanish translation).
Who is debating?
Ten candidates made the cut.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
Sen. Kamala Harris of California Sen.
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Businessman Andrew Yang
Who didn’t make the cut?
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio
Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii
Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam
Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania
Investor Tom Steyer
Author Marianne Williamson
How was the stage decided?
Candidates needed contributions from at least 130,000 individuals, coming from at least 400 unique donors in 20 or more states. They also needed to reach 2% in at least four Democratic National Committee-approved polls.
What are the rules for the debates?
Candidates will have one minute and 15 seconds to respond to direct questions and 45 seconds for responses and rebuttals, according to ABC News. There will be opening statements but no closing statements.
What happened during the last debate?
CNN hosted the last set of debates in July, which took place in Detroit.
The first debate night was all about ideology: Warren and Sanders spent the night answering to attacks from low-polling moderates like Delaney and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (who has since dropped out of the presidential race and announced a Senate run). Both Warren and Sanders emerged unscathed, and for them the debate was largely a warm-up for higher-stakes battles with Biden that will play out tonight.
The second night got bitter and personal. Biden, who had entered the race decrying the “circular firing squad,” brought opposition research. Harris saw opponents pick through her record as attorney general. Even former President Barack Obama was a bit of a punching bag on immigration.