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Hickenlooper, Bennet to face off against frontrunners Sanders, Biden in first Democratic debate

The debate lineups were randomly chosen by NBC and were aimed at spreading out the frontrunners and lesser-known candidates.

DENVER — The two Coloradans running for president will face off against the frontrunners in NBC’s Democratic debate.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet will debate at the same time as the frontrunners: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden. Other buzzed-about candidates, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, will also share the stage.

Hickenlooper and Bennet will debate with eight other candidates on Thursday, June 27, according to NBC. The debate was set based on a random drawing at the network’s headquarters in New York City.

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The first night of the debates, on June 26, will feature 10 other qualifying candidates. Those include New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker,  and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Where the candidates will stand on stage each night has not yet been determined.

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The goal of the random groupings was to ensure each night wasn’t overloaded with frontrunners and lesser-known candidates, like Hickenlooper and Bennet.

The debate will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.

Hickenlooper tweeted about his selection in the campaign and made the point he’s been emphasizing in recent weeks about socialism in a remark likely aimed at Sanders, who he has traded barbs with on Twitter.

“Socialism is not how we achieve a progressive future,” the tweet from Hickenlooper read.

He also referred to himself as the only governor (and brewer) on stage.

Bennet also tweeted about making the debate, writing “it’s been an unbelievable six weeks.”

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