When are primaries and debates? Key dates in the 2020 presidential election calendar

Alex Woodward
Voters casting their ballots in the US election last November. Despite winning the Electoral College vote, President Trump still alleges voter fraud took place: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The 2020 presidential race is finally drawing closer to ballots being cast for the candidates in primary contests across the US.

As Democratic presidential candidates prepare for vital early primaries, they'll also participate in six more televised debates. The Democratic nominee will then participate in presidential debates this fall.

Republican parties in several states have cancelled their party primaries, presuming Donald Trump will be the incumbent nominee on the ballot, though he has attracted several challengers.

Here's a schedule of key election events in 2020.

14 January

Five candidates have qualified for the seventh Democratic debate, which will be hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. On the stage will be Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The debate will be moderated by CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip and The Des Moines Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel. It airs at 9pm EST.

3 February

The Iowa caucus will capture the first votes cast in the Democratic primary race, leading to a lot of speculation for the candidates' futures as state primaries following in the coming weeks, and as the campaigns — and donors — strategise ahead of the election's crucial next few months.

7 February

ABC, WMUR and Apple News at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire host the eighth Democratic primary debate.

11 February

The first Democratic primary votes will be cast in New Hampshire. Senator Sanders won the state in a landslide in 2016.

19 February

NBC News, MSNBC and The Nevada Independent host the ninth Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.

22 February

The Nevada Democratic primary marks the third nominating contest, offering a glimpse of candidates' success outside the East Coast in a key state with a large Latino voting population.

25 February

CBS News, Twitter and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute at The Gaillard Center host the 10th Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

29 February

South Carolina is the first southern state to enter the primary contest, which could show the strength of African-American support among Democratic candidates. Republicans cancelled their party's primary in the state, with the incumbent president as the presumed nominee.


A date and location for the 11th Democratic primary debate are yet to be scheduled.

3 March

Fifteen states across the US will hold primary contests on Super Tuesday, including California, which has the largest delegate count in the US, with 415 delegates pledged to the Democratic nominee, and Texas, the second-largest delegate trove, with 228 delegates pledged to the Democratic nominee.

3-10 March

US citizens living abroad will have a week to cast their votes in the Democrats Abroad primary.

10 March

There are Democratic and Republican primaries and caucuses in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and Washington.

17 March

There are Democratic and Republican primaries in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Washington DC. There's a Democratic primary in Arizona; Republicans cancelled their primary in Arizona.

March 29

Puerto Rico holds its Democratic primary.


A date and time for the 12th Democratic primary debate are yet to be scheduled.

4 April

There are Democratic and Republican primaries in Louisiana and Wyoming. Alaska and Hawaii will host Democratic primaries, but the GOP cancelled the party's primaries in those states.

28 April

There are primaries in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York, likely the last major delegate state in the election. There are 274 Democratic delegates the state. If there's a clear winner among primary states at this point, Democrats are likely to band around a candidate as the race moves closer to the party convention.

2 May

There are primaries in Guam and Kansas.

5 May

Indiana holds its primary election.

12 May

There are primary elections in Nebraska and West Virginia.

19 May

Kentucky and Oregon hold their primary elections.

22-25 May

The Libertarian Party hosts its annual convention in Austin, Texas. Delegates will choose their candidate for the ballot from among the party's 14 declared candidates.

2 June

There are primaries in Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and Washington DC.

6 June

The US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico hold their primaries.

9-12 July

The Green Party holds its annual convention in Detroit, Michigan where delegates will select its candidate; formally recognised candidates include party co-founder Howie Hawkins and Dario Hunter of New Jersey.

13-16 July

Democratic delegates will convene in Milwaukee to nominate their candidate during the Democratic National Convention.

24-27 August

Republicans will hold their annual nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

29 September

The University of Notre Dame hosts the first 2020 presidential debate.

7 October

Republican and Democratic nominees for vice president will debate at the University of Utah.

15 October

The second presidential debate will take place at the University of Michigan.

22 October

Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee will host the third and final presidential debate.

3 November

Election Day — voters across the US will participate in a general election to select the next president, along with other candidates that appear on local ballots.

14 December

Electoral college representatives meet in state capitols to formally cast votes.

6 January 2021

Congress enters electoral votes into the record, and the Senate president announces vote tallies.

20 January 2021

Inauguration Day — the president-elect will be formally sworn into office.