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Democratic debate: How to watch the candidates live tonight for free

This evening Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren and Yang take the stage ahead of the state's primary, and you don't need cable to watch.

Democratic Primary Debate

The Dems have their sights set on New Hampshire.

Getty Images
This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET's full coverage of the 2020 elections.

After the Iowa caucus debacle the Democratic candidates for president have moved on to New Hampshire. Ahead of the state's first-in-the-nation primary next Tuesday, seven candidates including front-runners Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren will take the stage for the eighth Democratic primary debate. Between President Trump's impeachment trial and his State of the Union Address on Tuesday -- and little things like health care and the economy -- they'll have plenty to discuss.

The debate will take place in Manchester, New Hampshire tonight, Friday, Feb. 7 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET (5 p.m. to 8 p.m. PT) and broadcast live on ABC. Here's how to watch for free, even if you don't have cable.

Now playing: Watch this: Live TV streaming services for cord cutters: How to choose...

Which candidates are in the debate?

Seven candidates have qualified for the debate:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
  • Billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

After failing to qualify for the last debate, Andrew Yang is back, making the cut for the first of three debates in February. To qualify for the seventh debate, candidates had to hit 5% in four national or state polls out of New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada, or 7% in two state polls from the list of qualified polls, plus bring in money from at least 225,000 unique donors, including 1,000 individual donors from 20 states. In addition, candidates can qualify for this debate by receiving at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention based on the results of the Iowa caucuses.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg didn't qualify, but after a rule change the billionaire might well take the stage for the next debate on Feb. 19, ahead of the Nevada primary.

Who is hosting and moderating the debate?

Hosted by ABC News and WMUR-TV -- the ABC affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire -- the debate will take place at Saint Anselm College in Manchester. ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos, World News Tonight anchor and managing editor David Muir and ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis will moderate the debate, joined by WMUR-TV political director Adam Sexton and WMUR-TV news anchor Monica Hernandez.

How can I watch or stream the debate for free?

The debate starts at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ABC. You'll be able to stream it on and ABC News Live, the ABC app and ABC News app, and the ABC News channel on YouTube. As with the previous debates, you can watch Friday's debate for free on ABC's digital platforms without authentication, which means you won't have to sign in at all, just start streaming. 

Live TV streaming service Sling TV will also let users watch for free. Its Sling Free tier will carry the ABC News Live channel for anybody who downloads the Sling app on a Roku, Amazon Fire TV or Android device, or watches on the web at Here are the details.

In addition, you can stream the ABC News Live channel on other free services, including The Roku Channel and Xumo. You can also connect an antenna to your TV and watch your local ABC station for free over the air.

Any other ways to livestream the debate?

Cord cutters who subscribe to a live TV streaming service other than Sling TV can also watch the debate. Three of the five major services, listed below, offer ABC's live local channels. The catch is that not every service carries every local network, so check each one using the links below to make sure it carries the network you want in your area.

YouTube TV costs $50 a month and includes ABC. Plug in your ZIP code on its welcome page to see which local networks are available in your area. 

Hulu with Live TV costs $55 a month and includes ABC. Click the "View channels in your area" link on its welcome page to see which local channels are offered in your ZIP code. 

In addition, subscribers to the on-demand-only $5.99-a-month Hulu plan and the $12.99-a-month Hulu/Disney Plus/ESPN Plus bundle can stream the debate live. The debate will be featured on the Hulu homepage, beginning with live, predebate coverage at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT).

AT&T TV Now's basic $65-a-month Plus package includes ABC. You can use its channel lookup tool to see which local channels are available where you live.

All of the live TV streaming services above offer a free trial, allow you to cancel anytime, and require a solid internet connection. Looking for more information? Check out our massive streaming services guide.

Originally published earlier this year. Updated for the current debate.