MIAMI, Florida (KETK) – Democratic presidential candidates will square off against each other in the first debates of the 2020 campaign season Wednesday and Thursday evenings in Miami.
Immigration and the standoff with Iran are expected to be among the topics featured both nights.
The debates could help introduce the candidates to a wider audience and give them a more prominent platform to showcase their campaigns. They may also help bolster the standings of some currently struggling to get name recognition.
Wednesday night’s debate lineup includes Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, Julián Castro of Texas, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Gov. Jay Inslee, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Rep. Tim Ryan.
Thursday night’s debate lineup includes Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Michael Bennet, former Gov. John Hickenlooper, Rep. Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, and tech executive Andrew Yang.
A new straw poll from moveon.org shows Sen. Elizabeth Warren as top pick of members of the progressive group. Behind her Sen. Bernie Sanders, trails by 21 points.
However, the two won’t be sharing the stage. The candidate field is so crowded it had to be divided. One group will debate Wednesday and the other Thursday.
Another poll, this one of early primary state voters, puts former Vice President Joe Biden in the lead.
“A lot of people still think (Biden is) the guy that can beat Donald Trump,” said Eugene Robinson, NBC News contributor and Washington Post columnist, “especially given the fact that trump keeps attacking him.”
Ahead of the debate, candidates have been attempting to upstage one another. Sanders has proposed a plan to erase all student loan debt through new taxes on wall street, and O’Rourke has unveiled his idea to pay for future veterans’ health care by taxing wealthy families without members serving in the military.
Buttigieg has been juggling the debate and rising racial tensions back home in Fort Wayne, Indiana. following the shooting of a black man by a police officer. The officer had reportedly turned off his body camera prior to the shooting.
Both debates will air on KETK at 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and will stream live here on the website and our mobile app.