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Here’s Your Guide To The Eighth Democratic Debate

Friday’s debate will cap off one of the worst weeks for Democrats since Trump took office. A series of events have left the party in disarray.


Seven candidates will take the stage in Manchester, New Hampshire on Feb. 7 for the eighth Democratic debate this cycle and the last time the candidates will be on stage before the state’s primary scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

The primetime event will be co-hosted by ABC News, WMUR-TV and Apple News at St. Anselm College, and will be moderated by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, and Linsey Davis, along with WMUR-TV’s Adam Sexton and Monica Hernandez. This will be the second debate for Muir and Stephanopoulos this cycle after having moderated the third presidential debate in September hosted by ABC News with Univision.

Viewers can watch the event as it airs live from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on ABC or stream it online at or on the ABC app or any connected devices including Roku, AppleTV, or Amazon Fire TV.

To land a podium on stage, candidates must have received a minimum of 225,000 unique campaign contributions in addition to garnering at least 7 percent support in two polls in the three early nomination contests after Iowa. Those include New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. Candidates may also score 5 percent or higher in four polls in those three early states or in four national surveys. Only polls conducted between Dec. 13 and Feb 6. were eligible to qualify a candidate for the debate stage.

Here are the candidates who will appear on stage in order of their polling average in Real Clear Politics’ latest aggregate:

  1. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (25.5 percent)
  2. Former Vice President Joe Biden (17.7 percent)
  3. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (13.8 percent)
  4. Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (15.7 percent)
  5. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (7.8 percent)
  6. Tech Entrepreneur Andrew Yang (3.0 percent)
  7. Billionaire Tom Steyer (3.2 percent)

Yang is the only candidate who will appear on stage tonight who was absent from last month’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa.

Candidates still in the race who did not qualify for the New Hampshire debate include Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. With a polling average of 4.2 percent, which is higher than Yang and Steyer’s, Gabbard failed to show enough support in enough polls and missed the donor threshold required to land a spot on stage.

Bloomberg met the polling requirement but not the donor threshold, as the billionaire businessman has been self-funding his campaign. The New Hampshire debate will likely be the last time Bloomberg is left off out of the primetime event because the Democratic National Committee changed the rules to qualify for subsequent debates last week.

The DNC doubled polling requirements but eliminated the donor threshold needed for a podium, opening the door for Bloomberg to make his first primetime appearance facing his rival candidates in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 19.

New Hampshire’s debate will cap off one of the worst weeks for Democrats since President Donald Trump took office. A series of events have left the party in disarray in the span of four days.

On Monday, the Iowa Democratic caucuses ended without a clear winner when the party’s vote-reporting app crashed as results were coming in. The technical failures ended in only half of the caucus results being released Tuesday afternoon, just hours before Trump’s annual state of the union address.

As of Thursday night, final results have yet to emerge, although Sanders and Buttigieg appear to be neck-and-neck with Sanders taking the popular vote in both rounds of voting while Buttigieg pulls a slight majority of the delegates with nearly all precincts reporting. DNC Chairman Tom Perez demanded a recanvassing of the caucuses while Trump took a victory lap over his impeachment acquittal in the East Room of the White House.

As Trump glows in the exoneration that Wednesday’s impeachment vote brought him the highest approval rating of his presidency, the failures in Iowa will no doubt raise skepticism among voters whether Democrats are equipped to manage the massive programs they propose that Americans will be desperately dependent upon, such as government-run health care.

The candidates on stage in New Hampshire are likely to criticize the Iowa Democratic Party for its handling of the caucuses, which prevented the winning candidates who spent years campaigning in the first-in-the-nation caucus state from being able to flex the strength of their campaigns moving into the next phase of the primary. By Tuesday night, even as official results began to come in, the news cycle rapidly moved on to the state of the union, quickly followed by the Senate impeachment vote and then Trump’s victory lap on Thursday.

Most candidates in the primary declared a victory in Iowa regardless.