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Important national political dates in 2020

President Donald Trump attends a Christmas Eve video

President Donald Trump attends a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Credit: AP / Andrew Harnik

2020 will be a momentous political year. Here's a calendar of important days in national politics to watch for.

JANUARY: IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

Once House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sends the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, a trial is expected to be held in January.

The Republican-controlled Senate led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is all but certain to acquit Trump, as a two-thirds vote is needed for conviction. But the final count will still matter.

It will be only the third impeachment trial of a president in United States history. In the first, in 1868, President Andrew Johnson survived by just one vote.

IOWA (FEB. 3) AND NEW HAMPSHIRE (FEB. 11)

After all the campaigning of 2019, we'll actually see some voting in the presidential race early in 2020 with the traditional first stops: the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

"This is very much an open race on the Democratic side," said Meena Bose, a professor of political science at Hofstra University and director of its Peter S. Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency, who described a competition between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the more centrist agenda represented by former Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and now former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The top tier as the year ends are Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg, who is leading in Iowa. 

"It's very possible we could see a breakthrough from one of the candidates who has not been polling as well," Bose said.

After New Hampshire it's on to Nevada, which holds Democratic caucuses on Feb. 22, and South Carolina, with its primary on Feb. 29.

Trump does have challengers on the Republican side — former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld and former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh. In some states, Republicans have decided not to hold primaries.

MARCH 3: SUPER TUESDAY

This year the slate of states voting on the same day includes California and Texas — the two biggest sources of delegates, The New York Times says. 

But there are many more states taking part. Primaries also will be held in both major parties on March 3 in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Vermont; Virginia will have a Democratic primary, as will Democrats Abroad; and American Samoa will hold a Democratic caucus, according to the Times' election calendar.

JULY 13-16 AND AUG. 24-27: THE CONVENTIONS

In 2020, the two parties have chosen host cities in states that will may be up for grabs in the fall: Wisconsin and North Carolina.

The Democratic National Convention will be held in mid-July in Milwaukee. In late August, Charlotte will be the site of the Republican National Convention.

"Wisconsin is obviously very important for the Democrats, having narrowly lost it in 2016, and so it's not surprising that Democrats are looking to bolster their support" in a state they need to win in November, Bose said.  

SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER: THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATES

The debates are scheduled for Sept. 29 at the University of Notre Dame, Oct. 15 at the University of Michigan and Oct. 22 at Belmont University in Nashville.

It is unclear if Trump will participate. He attacked the organization that oversees the debates, declaring recently, "The problem is that the so-called Commission on Presidential Debates is stacked with Trump Haters & Never Trumpers."

NOV. 3: ELECTION DAY

When all is said and done, the campaign will come down to the battleground states that will decide the Electoral College.

Said Bose: "The magic number for the 2020 presidential race is 270."

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