Some 2020 Democratic hopefuls (copy)

Some of the Democrats running for president in 2020. File/Associated Press

The first large televised gathering of the Democratic candidates running for president in South Carolina will be held June 15, when the national Black Economic Alliance holds a forum to be broadcast from Charleston.

The group, founded by black executives and business leaders in 2018, said the format will focus on expanding economic opportunity for black Americans.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg have confirmed their participation, the group said Tuesday.

Others invited to attend include U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former Vice President Joe Biden.

The group decided on its invitation list based on who reached a 3 percent level of support in early-state polls.

The format will put each candidate on stage, one at a time, over the course of about two hours.

It will not air live but will be produced overnight and air the following morning.

Since the event is not being billed as a debate — and the candidates won't be on the stage simultaneously — it does not run afoul of Democratic Party debate regulations heading into 2020.

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The venue will be the the Charleston Music Hall, and the event will be televised exclusively on BET Networks. It will be moderated by journalist, author and producer Soledad O’Brien.

Ticket availability will be announced later.

“Black families across the country have been disproportionately disadvantaged by social and institutional barriers that have largely barred them from achieving sustainable economic progress," said Dr. Tony Coles, co-chairman of the Black Economic Alliance.

“This forum will ensure that the top candidates for the highest office in the land have both a vision and a plan to guarantee each and every American has an equal chance to participate meaningfully in our economy,” Coles said.

South Carolina will hold the nation's first-in-the-South presidential primary in February.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 843-937-5551. Follow him on Twitter at @skropf47.

Political Editor

Schuyler Kropf is The Post and Courier political editor. He has covered every major political race in South Carolina dating to 1988, including for U.S. Senate, governorship, the Statehouse and Republican and Democratic presidential primaries.

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