The 10th debate of the Democratic presidential election cycle is set for Tuesday beginning at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT in Charleston, SC, four days away from Saturday’s critical South Carolina primary. It also marks the final debate for the seven qualified candidates before Super Tuesday on March 3, when 16 states and territories vote to award about half of the total number of delegates needed to become the Democrats’ nominee to take on Donald Trump.
The debate at The Gaillard Center in Charleston, expected to last a bit more than 2 hours, will air live on CBS stations and ViacomCBS corporate sibling BET. It will also be livestreamed on CBS News’ streaming service CBSN as well as on its subscription-based CBS All Access and FuboTV. Twitter will also livestream the event and, as a debate partner, users can submit questions via #DemDebate that could be used on the air.
Co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus, tonight’s moderators are CBS Evening News anchor Norah O’Donnell and CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King, joined in questioning by Face the Nation host and CBS’ senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and 60 Minutes‘ Bill Whitaker.
The seven candidates are consensus Democratic front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Steyer became the last person to qualify for the stage tonight, while Bloomberg is coming off generally poor reviews in his first debate last week in Las Vegas as his self-funded campaign revved up to full speed.
Currently, Sanders leads the pack with 45 total delegates through a primary and two caucuses, the last a resounding Sanders victory in Nevada. Buttigieg is second with 25 delegates, followed by Biden, Warren and Klobuchar.
South Carolina, which has 63 delegates up for grabs, is the first state with a significant African American population this primary season. Biden, traditionally strong in that demographic, has seen his lead there in key polls slip over the past few weeks. The latest CBS News/YouGov poll, one of two qualifying markers for tonight’s debate, has Biden’s lead shrinking to 28% vs. 23% for Sanders. Steyer, who has pumped serious ad money into the state, is third at 18%.
Ratings for the debate cycle have been rising along with the stakes, and as the candidate pool shrinks. Last week’s Las Vegas debate drew 19.7 million viewers for NBC News and MSNBC, the most-watched Dem debate in history.
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