Meet the All-Female Panel for the November Democratic Debate

On November 20, the fifth Democratic presidential primary debate will take place in Georgia. The event will be co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post and will feature four female moderators. The all-female panel includes Andrea Mitchell, the host of Andrea Mitchell Reports on MSNBC as well as NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent; Rachel Maddow, the host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC; Kristen Welker, who is an NBC News’ White House correspondent; and Ashley Parker, a White House reporter for The Washington Post. 

During the last election’s Republican presidential primary debate, Fox Business Network aired the first female duo ever, Trish Regan and Sandra Smith, to moderate a presidential debate. Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff then became the first female duo to moderate a Democratic presidential primary debate on PBS NewsHour. These were the first instances where there were no male moderators accompanying women during a presidential debate. 

Related Article: Second Democratic Debate

The rarity of all-female panels in previous presidential debates sparked backlash in 2012 when three high school students, Emma Axelrod, Sammi Siegel, and Elena Tsemberis, learned that a woman had not moderated a presidential debate since 1992. They started a petition calling on the Commission on Presidential Debates to have a female moderator for one of the presidential debates back in 2012. On August 13, the Commission announced that CNN’s Candy Crowley would be a moderator for the presidential debate on October 13, becoming the first woman in 20 years to moderate a presidential debate. 

Related Article: Our 2020 Democratic Party Candidates and Who They Are

The inclusion of female moderators in presidential debates has now continued for the past three elections. As a moderator, it is important to keep the debate flowing while maintaining an unbiased stance and ensure that the candidates stay on topic. The importance placed on the role of a moderator makes it important for the public to not only know the candidates but to also know the moderators.

Andrea Mitchell


Andrea Mitchell is NBC News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent and the host of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports. She covers political news and interviews newsmakers regarding foreign policy, intelligence and national security issues. Mitchell also covered Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign where she reported on rallies, debates, and conventions. 


Rachel Maddow

Via The Boston Globe

Rachel Maddow is the host of The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC that covers political news stories and debates. She is also the author of DRIFT: The Unmooring of American Military Power which was on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2012. Maddow moderated a previous debate where she heavily focused on the Russian investigation.


Kristen Welker

Via Film Journal

Kristen Welker is a White House Correspondent for NBC News that has appeared on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, TODAY and Meet the Press. She covered Hillary Clinton’s campaign for NBC News in 2016 and she broke the exclusive that former Vice President Joe Biden would not be running for office. Welker was recognized as a “key player” by Glamour magazine during the 2016 election.

Ashley Parker

Via The Washington Post

Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. She was previously at The New York Times where she covered both the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. Parker received a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2018 as a result of her coverage on Russian interference.