First Democratic Primary Debate Wednesday Night is a First for Women

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DES MOINES, Iowa — We are gearing up for the first Democratic Primary Debate. It is two days long with 10 presidential candidates Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. and then another 10 Thursday night.

It’s a crowded field, but a diverse one. Out of the ten candidates Wednesday night, three women will be on stage sharing their policies and views. Six Democrat women in total are trying to become President of the United States.

With the historically large field, it’s going to be interesting how the candidates fight for their fair share on the mic, especially the women. Kelly Winfrey, who works in the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics at Iowa State, says the debate Wednesday night will be like something we’ve never seen before simply because of the number of women who will be on the stage.

“The gender dynamics will be something that we haven’t got to see before because it’s not just one candidate. You know, we’ve had Hillary Clinton or Michele Bachmann, but we haven’t had multiple female candidates. So I’ll be curious how gender plays into how they interact with each other, issues they talk about, how they talk about those issues,” Winfrey said.

In over 70 years, there have been more than 170 Democratic and Republican Presidential Primary Debates. The first was broadcast over the radio, according to the University of Virginia Center for Politics. In that time only five women have ever participated. In this debate throughout the next few days, that number will be doubled. That perks Winfrey’s interest, waiting to see how their presence will shift the dynamic in the debate.

“There are gender stereotypes that set expectations for female candidates, and women have to kind of balance some expectations and then violate those expectations to be seen as good leaders,” Winfrey said. “I think the four women Senators that are running all have strong backgrounds, and as you’ve seen, put together very detailed policy plans.”

The other two women in the debate are Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and self-help author Marianne Williamson. Out of the five moderators, NBC also has two women, Today co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Wednesday afternoon at 4:00 p.m., WHO-HD is airing a special edition of the Channel 13 News at Four called “Iowa Votes 2020 – Your Voice, Your Decision.”

Channel 13’s Political Director, Dave Price, is moderating and giving viewers a chance to send in questions to Montana Governor Steve Bullock.

He was one of the last candidates to join the race and failed to collect enough donations and place high enough in public opinion polls specified by the Democratic National Committee to qualify for the debate.

You can send those questions to us on Facebook or by emailing us at

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