DNC chair defends debate order: 'There's no JV-varsity'

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s ‘wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE defended the committee’s choice to randomly assign candidates to one of two nights of debates and dismissed the notion that there’s any hierarchy among the crowded field. 

“As you know, we did random assignment for today and tomorrow. There’s no JV-varsity. We’ve got a deep bench,” Perez told MSNBC in an interview ahead of Wednesday’s debate in Miami.

A total of 20 candidates, half on Wednesday and half on Thursday, will participate in the first round of debates.ADVERTISEMENT

The DNC chose at random, picking names out of a hat, to assign candidates to a stage.

The top-tier candidates are split between the evenings. Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) is set to take the stage Wednesday along with some candidates who are polling under 1 percent, while fellow top-tier candidates former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE (D) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) will participate Thursday. 

But the debates may offer a platform to launch some of the candidates who are struggling to break through.

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Perez said he thinks voters will find there are multiple candidates they “really like.” 

“And I encourage people to date multiple candidates, speed date if you will, and then fall in love,” he said. “And then what we have to do is fall in line behind whoever wins.”

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