The Democratic presidential primary is in full bloom with exactly one month to go until the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses slated to be held on Feb. 3.
Time is running out for some candidates to make their pitch to voters before the first votes of the 2020 election are cast, and there is only one debate scheduled in the Hawkeye State until the critical first contest.
The Polls: Who’s Up, Who’s Down
Here’s a breakdown of where the candidates stand according to Real Clear Politics’ latest aggregation of polls:
Former Vice President Joe Biden: 28.6 percent
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders: 18.6 percent
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: 15.1 percent
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: 7.9 percent
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 4.9 percent
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: 3.3 percent
Tech Entrepreneur Andrew Yang: 3.4 percent
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: 2.4 percent
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: 1.8 percent
Businessman Tom Steyer: 1.8 percent
The rest of the candidates fail to register more than a percent in the national aggregate.
While former Vice President Joe Biden holds a comfortable 10 point lead among the field in national polls, the picture is much different in Iowa with former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg at the head of the pack.
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg: 22 percent
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders: 20 percent
Former Vice President Joe Biden: 18.8 percent
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren: 16 percent
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar: 6.3 percent
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker: 2.8 percent
Businessman Tom Steyer: 2.5 percent
Tech Entrepreneur Andrew Yang: 2.3 percent
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard: 2 percent
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 1.3 percent
The rest of the candidates fail to register more than a percent in the Real Clear aggregate.
One Debate Left
The candidates have one debate left to make their case to voters before the first contest of the Democratic primary gets underway. The debate will be held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 14 hosted and moderated by CNN and the Des Moines Register.
To qualify, candidates are required to show contributions from at least 225,000 unique donors in addition to meeting a higher polling threshold than previous debates. Candidates must either score 7 percent or higher in two polls conducted in any of the first four contest states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, or hit 5 percent support in four polls conducted in the first four states or in national polls.
The Democratic National Committee will only be considering polls conducted between Nov. 14, 2019 and Jan. 10 for a podium on stage giving the candidates just seven more days to meet the threshold. As it currently stands, only five candidates have met the DNC requirements, including Biden, Buttigieg, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Senator Warren, and Minnesota Senator Klobuchar.
The Money Game
Candidates began announcing their quarter four fundraising numbers this week which ran from Oct. 1 to the end of the year on Dec. 31.
Sanders led the field with $34.5 million raised in the fourth quarter, primarily from small-dollar contributions the campaign said with 1.8 million contributions coming in with an average donation of $18.53. The next Democratic rival didn’t come close, with Buttigieg reporting a total of $24.7 million raised in the last quarter.
Biden raised $22.7 million, Warren raised $21.2 million, Yang raised $16.5 million, Klobuchar raised $11.4 million, and Gabbard pulled in $3.4 million.
While Sanders and Warren are expected to do well in Iowa, and Klobuchar is in position for a surprise performance, the looming impeachment trial against Donald Trump is likely to throw a wrench into the senators’ presidential ambitions. Candidates who currently serve in the Senate will be in Washington D.C. in the weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus and beyond.
The impeachment proceedings playing out in the nation’s capital will especially benefit Buttigieg, who was also relieved of his mayoral duties in the new year as his second term leading South Bend officially ended on Wednesday. As his leading rivals are trapped in D.C. to participate in the impeachment circus, Buttigieg will virtually have Iowa to himself to campaign in the final days before Iowa Democrats cast their votes.
While not a senator, Biden is not untouched by the impeachment process unfolding in Washington. Republicans are certain to highlight the glaring conflict of interest where Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company earning $50,000 a month despite no prior experience in the industry while Joe Biden dictated U.S. policy on Ukraine as vice president. A Federalist analysis reveals Hunter Biden’s compensation to be far higher than the typical board member of a company of comparable size even with experience.
There is some speculation that Joe Biden and Hunter Biden might even be called to testify as part of the proceedings shining further light on the questionable arrangement.