Democrats schedule debates in early primary, caucus states

Dec. 12 (UPI) — Democratic presidential candidates will participate in four debates in early primary and caucus states in the new year to gear up voters as they prepare to head to the polls, the party announced Thursday.

The first is scheduled for Jan. 14 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and will be hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register.

On Feb. 7, ABC, WMUR-TV and Apple News will host a debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

NBC News will partner with MSNBC and The Nevada Independent to host the ninth Democratic debate Feb. 19 at an undetermined location in Las Vegas.

And on Feb. 25, CBS News, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute and Twitter will partner to hold a debate at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, S.C.

The Democratic National Committee said qualification criteria, formats and moderators for each debate will be announced at a future date.

Democrats are next scheduled to debate Dec. 19 in Los Angeles.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey announced Thursday he doesn’t expect to be on the Los Angeles debate state because he didn’t meet the qualifying threshold.

“Thanks to the outpouring of support over the past few weeks, we know there’s a path to victory, and we no longer need the debate stage to get there,” he tweeted.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and billionaire Tom Steyer have qualified to be on the December stage.

The Democratic Party’s primary season begins Feb. 3 when Iowa holds its first-in-the-nation caucuses. A week later, on Feb. 11, New Hampshire will hold the first primary. Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22 and South Carolina votes on Feb. 29. Super Tuesday is scheduled to take place March 3. The final primary is scheduled to take place June 16 in Washington, D.C.