2020 Iowa Democratic Debate Preview


DES MOINES, Iowa — Tuesday night six out of the 12 Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage in the last debate before the Iowa caucuses, which is 21 days away.

CNN, in partnership with The Des Moines Register, will air the debate live on Tuesday at 8 p.m. from the campus of Drake University.

The most recent Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom poll shows Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the lead at 20 percent. Three candidates: former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden follow Sanders separated by just one percentage point each.

With the impeachment trial looming over the U.S. Senate, this could be the last time the senators in the race get face-to-face time with voters before the Iowa caucuses. Topics will likely relate to rural America, which every candidate has released an economic plan for, and foreign policy.

“I think the biggest issue will probably be Iran and foreign policy, given what’s been going on recently and received a lot of attention the news, deservedly so,” said Greg Wolf, an assistant political science professor at Drake University. 

“Biden is definitely going to highlight his experience both in the Senate and dealing with foreign affairs as vice president. Whereas Pete Buttigieg will make the point that he has military service,” said Wolf.

Wolf also says Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar could find herself playing catch up and possibly fighting off Warren.

“Warren is trying to be moderate a bit to peel people off from those more moderate candidates. And again, this could be really important in the second round of voting at the Caucus, where she may try to get Klobuchar voters,” said Wolf.

Those who didn’t make the debate have alternative plans across the state with others hosting events in other early primary states. Channel 13 reached out to campaigns who did not qualify for the debate and their alternative plans are as follows:

  • Andrew Yang: Hosting a town hall on Tuesday in Ames
  • Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: Hosting a live stream talk on Iran
  • Former Congressman John Delaney: Hosting three town halls on Tuesday 


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