DES MOINES, IOWA – As the Democratic National Committee prepares for primary voting season and another election year, the first debate of the year, and the last before the Iowa caucus on February 3, will be held January 14th at the Drake University in Des Moines. The number of participating candidates has shrunk to a field of six: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, and Elizabeth Warren. All other candidates were unable to meet either the donor requirements or the required polling threshold, which as of January 10th, 2020 was to gain at least 5% in four DNC approved polls or 7% in two early-state polls, and at least 225,000 donors with at least 1,000 donors in at least 20 states.
The debate is the first of four planned for the next two months in different voting states, and will be carefully watched as an indicator of each candidates performance in the race. In general, the winner of the Iowa caucuses has gone on to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Many voters, donors, and lobbyists have not yet made up their mind and the results in Iowa could result in big swings of votes, donations, and endorsements.
Anticipated topics include the tensions in Iran, the environment, presidential impeachment, healthcare, and potentially local issues in Iowa to cater to the states voting base. By reducing the field to six candidates, each will likely have more time to address the issues in the debate. Here’s more information about each candidate:
- Joe Biden. Biden, 77, is polling at 20.3% of the caucus vote and is best known as Barack Obama’s vice president from 2009 to 2017.
- Pete Buttigieg. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana for eight years, Buttigieg the youngest candidate and is currently polling at 21.7% of the caucus vote, and would be the first openly gay presidential nominee should he win the nomination.
- Bernie Sanders. Calling himself a democratic socialist, Sanders represented has Vermont in Congress since 1991, and gained notoriety during the 2016 Democratic nomination when running against Hillary Clinton. Sanders is polling at 22% of the caucus vote.
- Elizabeth Warren. A senator from Massachusetts and former teacher at Harvard, Warren is currently polling at 15.3% of the caucus vote.
- Amy Klobuchar. A Minnesota senator and attorney, Klobuchar is a more moderate candidate that could be a potential surprise, and is polling with 7.0% of the caucus vote.
- Tom Steyer. A hedge fund founder and operator, Steyer also invested personal time and money into political causes. Steyer is polling at 2.3% of the caucus vote.
The debate will be held from 9 to 11 PM Eastern Standard Time and will be available for streaming on DesMoinesRegister.com, an affiliate of USA Today, a division of Gannett Company. It will be moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, CNN political correspondent Abby Philip, and The Register’s chief political correspondent Brianne Pfannenstiel.