Among the most highly anticipated face-to-faces of the evening will be between former vice-president Joe Biden and the Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, who have yet to share a stage in this race.
Warren is jostling with the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to be the leading progressive alternative to Biden, who has maintained a comfortable lead over his rivals despite a summer of gaffes and miscues.
Beyond the top three candidates, the California senator Kamala Harris and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg are looking to regain the momentum that propelled their candidacies earlier in the primary. Rounding out the stage arethe Minnesota senator Amy Klobuchar, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, former housing secretary Julián Castro and the only non-politician, tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang, need a breakout moment to jumpstart their lagging campaigns.
Mo Elleithee, a former spokesman of the Democratic National Committee who is now the executive director of Georgetown University’s Institute of Politics and Public Service, said to expect a “messy debate”.
“Everyone is excited to see the front runners sharing a stage, but there will be 10 people on that stage,” he said. “It’s really hard to do what you want to do with that many people.”
Even the strongest debate performance must have a second act, he said.
“What do you do the next day or the next week after the debate?” he said. “These debates don’t tend to have winners. They have moments that a candidate can use as a springboard.”
- A new 2020 Democratic primary poll from ABC News and The Washington Post found a slight dip in former Vice President Joe Biden’s and Sen. Bernie Sanders’ numbers, with Biden still in the lead, with 27% support, and Sanders as runner-up, with 19%.
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren came in third with 17% support, up 6 points from the previous poll by ABC News and The Post.
- Sen. Kamala Harris saw a slump to 7% support, down 4 points from the July 1 poll. Mayor Pete Buttigieg maintained a steady 4% support.
- ABC News is a cosponsor along with Univision of the next Democratic debate, set to take place in Houston on Thursday.