Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Seven Democratic presidential candidates are set to face off in the sixth primary debate in Los Angeles Thursday -- the smallest group the party has fielded for such an event in the 2020 campaign.
The narrowing field of candidates, the only ones who have met the party's qualifying criteria, will take the stage at Loyola Marymount University at 8 p.m. ET for the debate hosted by PBS and Politico.
The candidates attending the debate will be entrepreneur Andrew Yang; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; former Vice President Joe Biden; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer.
To qualify, party candidates needed at least 4 percent support in at least four polls or 6 percent in two single-state polls in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire South Carolina and or Nevada, in addition to campaign donations from at least 200,000 unique donors.
California Sen. Kamala Harris qualified for the debate but dropped out of the race earlier this month, citing a lack of campaign funds. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said she would not attend, even if she qualified, and instead meet with voters in the early election states of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Thursday's debate will begin with moderator statements instead of opening statements and the candidates will be permitted 1 minute and 15 seconds for responses to moderators' questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals and follow-ups. At the conclusion of the debate, each candidate will deliver a 1-minute closing statement.
Candidates had pledged to drop out of the debate unless a labor dispute between workers and a catering provider at the Los Angeles venue was resolved. The groups reached a tentative deal on Tuesday.
Thursday's will be the final debate of 2019, a day after the impeachment of GOP President Donald Trump in the House.