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Here’s what you need to know about Tuesday’s 2020 Democratic primary debate


Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders arrive for the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20, 2019.

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The 2020 Democratic presidential contenders will take the stage together Tuesday for the final time before nominating contests start.

A largely cordial primary race has turned more adversarial in recent days with less than three weeks to go until the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses, the first time a state will award delegates in 2020.

Tuesday’s Democratic debate, hosted by the Des Moines Register and CNN, will start at 9 p.m. ET. It will take place at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

As debate qualifying standards get tougher and more candidates drop out of the race, the number of participants has dwindled. Only six Democratic candidates will take the stage together Tuesday in a field that has skewed older and whiter as it narrows.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
  • Billionaire activist Tom Steyer
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Tensions among the top candidates escalated in the days before the debate. Warren said Monday that Sanders told her during a 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the presidential election — a charge Sanders denied. It followed reports that Sanders’ campaign volunteer talking points cast Warren as a candidate who draws support from more wealthy, educated Democrats.

Sanders has also taken aim at Biden over his vote to authorize military force against Iraq in 2002, among other issues. Both leading candidates have tried to leverage their foreign policy experience to gain support after the U.S. killing of Iran’s top general raised tensions in the Middle East this month.

Recent Iowa polls have found four Democrats have a realistic shot at winning the most delegates in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Biden has 20.7% of support, about even with Sanders at 20.3%, according to a RealClearPolitics polling average.

Buttigieg and Warren follow at 18.7% and 16%, respectively.

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Source: US Top News and Analysis