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Bennet, Hickenlooper on list of 20 candidates who made 1st Dem debates

Both Sen. Michael Bennet and Former Gov. John Hickenlooper are among the pool of Democrats who will be appearing in the first debate of the 2020 campaign season.

The Democratic National Committee on Thursday named the 20 presidential candidates who qualified to appear on stage later this month in the first primary debate of the 2020 campaign.

They are:

  1. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado
  2. Former Vice President Joe Biden*
  3. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey*
  4. South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg*
  5. Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro*
  6. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  7. Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland
  8. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii*
  9. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York*
  10. Sen. Kamala Harris of California*
  11. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado
  12. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington*
  13. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota*
  14. Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas*
  15. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio
  16. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont*
  17. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California
  18. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts*
  19. Author Marianne Williamson*
  20. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang*

RELATED: Democrats unveil 20 candidates for first debates

The campaign's opening debates, set for June 26-27 in Miami, will offer a prime opportunity for many White House hopefuls to reshape a race defined in recent weeks by former Vice President Joe Biden's domination of national and many early state polls.

An NBC News drawing Friday will divide the large field between the first and second debate night. Party officials have promised to weight the drawing with the intention of ensuring that top tier and lagging candidates are spread roughly evenly over the two nights.

Those assignments will determine the debate strategies for many campaigns. Candidates will have to decide whether to go after front-runners such as Biden, challenge others in the pack or stand out by remaining above the fray.

Credit: Andy Colwell for Colorado Politics
John Hickenlooper speaks to the media after announcing his run for president at Wynkoop Brewing Co. in downtown Denver on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

Hickenlooper, who ran for mayor of Denver in 2003 and then became governor in 2010, questioned some of the rules during a campaign stop Thursday, but said candidates have little choice other than to meet them.

"Fighting with the DNC is a little like fighting with the weather," he said. "You can rage against the storm, but you will not have great effect. I think the rules are the rules."

RELATED: 'I'm running for President': Hickenlooper makes it official

Bennet has represented Colorado in the U.S. Senate since 2009.

His profile grew during the government shutdown in January. During a speech on the Senate floor, he took on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who wanted to pay Coast Guard members, while keeping the government shut down.

"I have worked very hard over the years to work in a bipartisan way with the presiding officer, with my Republican colleagues, but these crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying for first responders are too hard for me to take," said Bennet on Jan. 24. "Because when the senator from Texas shut this government down, my state was flooded. It was underwater. People were killed. People’s houses were destroyed. Their small businesses were ruined forever."

RELATED: Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet is running for President

The Associated Press and NBC News contributed to this report. 

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