ATLANTA — Unlike the first time, Colorado's two presidential candidates won't share a stage when they face their fellow Democrats in the upcoming round of primary debates.
Sen. Michael Bennet and former Gov. John Hickenlooper have both qualified to participate in the CNN debates, happening July 30 and 31 in Detroit.
Hickenlooper will debate on Night one. He'll be joined by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, former Rep. John Delaney, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; and author Marianne Williamson.
Hickenlooper didn't have a stand-out moment in the NBC debates, and in this round, he'll need to work just as hard to draw attention. Both Hickenlooper and his neighbor Delaney, who are polling low, have made slamming socialism part of their campaigns.
On Night Two, Bennet will stand on the far left. He'll be on stage with former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Obama Cabinet member Julián Castro, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Bennet did get more speaking time than Hickenlooper in the first debate, including some moments of contention with Sanders over Medicare for All.
CNN assigned all the candidates randomly with its drawing on Thursday night, with 10 candidates spread evenly over two events.
This second set of summer Democratic presidential debates will also feature a rematch with a twist, plus the first showdown of leading progressives as the party wrestles with its philosophical identity and looks ahead to a 2020 fight against President Donald Trump.
Biden and California Harris will take center stage July 31, barely a month after Harris jolted the sprawling field in the first debates and propelled herself to clear top tier status with an aggressive takedown of the 76-year-old Biden's long record on race.
This time, Harris, the lone black woman in the field, will be joined by another top black candidate, Booker, who also has been an outspoken critic of Biden. Booker had denounced Biden for his recollections of the "civility" of working in a Senate that included white supremacists and for his leadership on a 1994 crime bill that the New Jersey senator contends assailed as a mass incarceration agent in the black community.
Meanwhile, Sanders and Warren will headline the July 30 lineup, allowing the two progressive icons to compete directly for the affections of the party's left flank. They will be joined by several more moderate candidates, like Hickenlooper, who are likely to question the senators' sweeping proposals for single-payer health insurance and tuition-free college, among other plans.
It will be the first debate opportunity for Bullock, who takes the spot that California Rep. Eric Swalwell had in June before dropping out in recent weeks. Another late entry to the race, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, did not meet the polling or fundraising thresholds required for the July debate.