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5 key questions for 3rd Democratic debate

Unlike first two debates, this will be just one night

Candidates appear on stage for the second Democratic presidential candidate debate in Detroit in July. The third debate will be held in Houston on Thursday. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The third Democratic presidential candidate debate will take place on Thursday in Houston, and there will be plenty different about this debate compared to the first two in Miami and Detroit.

Here are five key questions about the third debate. 

How many candidates will there be?

Unlike the debates in Miami and Detroit that saw 20 candidates involved over a two-night period (10 each night), there will only be one debate night and it will feature 10 candidates. 

The candidates were chosen based on parameters met for placement in polls and number of unique donors. 

Each candidate who qualified needed to receive 2% or more of support in at least four polls between June 28 and Aug. 28 approved by the Democratic National Committee, and at least 130,000 unique donors, with there being 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.

Which candidates will be on stage?

In alphabetical order, the candidates who met the parameters set are:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former San Antonio Mayor and HUD secretary Julian Castro
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’ Rourke
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

What will format be?

Hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univision, each candidate will have 1 minute, 15 seconds to respond to questions from moderators George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, Linsey Davis and Jorge Ramos, and 45 seconds to respond to follow-up questions and rebuttals.

There will be opening statements from candidates, but no closing ones. 

What type of questions will likely be asked?

With additional mass shootings taking place since the last debate, gun control questions likely will be prominent. 

Humanitarian types of questions are also expected to pop up with Hurricane Dorian causing so much destruction in the Bahamas and the relief efforts intensifying. 

Beyond that, typical questions such as health care and the economy, especially since some are forecasting a recession in the coming years, will be asked.

Has much changed in the polls since last debate?

Not really.

Biden still is the front-runner, garnering close to 30% in national polling average, according to RealClearPolitics.

Warren and Sanders are neck-and-neck for second at around 18%, with Harris and Buttigieg trailing significantly in fourth and fifth.

With Biden on the same stage as everyone else for this debate, look for him to be a bigger target for attacks by candidates who know they need to make an impression to challenge his big lead.


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