Democrats set for final debate before Iowa caucus night


Katy Klopfenstein/Iowa State Dai

Podiums for the Democratic presidential debate Nov. 14, 2015, at Drake University.

Jake Webster

The stage is set for the final Democratic presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses.

The fewest number of candidates of any debate in the 2020 cycle qualified for the debate scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday. Six candidates are set to take part in the debate, co-hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer.

The debate can be live-streamed for free on and

Candidates who failed to qualify for the debate will miss out on the free media attention and millions of potential voters who watch it. Cory Booker dropped out of the presidential race on Monday and cited his failure to qualify for debates as part of the reason why he ended his campaign.

“Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” Booker said in a press release.

Booker failed to receive any qualifying polls and had asked the party to remove the polling requirement for debate qualification in a letter the New York Times reported.

Booker’s exit from the race leaves six Democrats in the presidential race who did not qualify for the debate: Michael Bennet, Mike Bloomberg, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick and Andrew Yang.

Yang received the prerequisite donor requirement but failed to receive the number of polls required to receive a podium on the debate stage.

Following the qualification deadline Friday, Yang’s campaign chair Nick Ryan accused the Democratic National Committee (DNC) of dictating who they wished to see as the party’s nominee through the polling requirement for debates.

“If the DNC had only done their due diligence and commissioned polls in the early states, Andrew Yang would certainly be on the debate stage next week,” Ryan said in a press release. “We are not going to allow the DNC to dictate who they wish to see as the nominee and deny the will of the people. The issues that will decide this election, and the future of our country, are too important to ignore for the sake of staged political bickering. The DNC tried to run this same play in 2016, and they paid for it with a loss in the general.”

There were fewer qualifying polls released that met DNC standards for the debate Tuesday than for previous debates this cycle, with the qualification period including the holiday season.

Speaking to the Daily in December about diversity on the debate stage that month, Yang said, “I think the DNC has done the best it can with a very tough situation.”

“They set out objective criteria a long time ago,” Yang said in December.

Tuesday’s debate will take place at Drake University and comes just under three weeks before the Iowa caucuses.