Six candidates will go head-to-head in Las Vegas Wednesday night as early voting gets underway in the Nevada Democratic caucuses slated to be held on Saturday.
NBC News and MSNBC will be co-hosting the debate with Telemundo and the Nevada Independent at Paris Theatre with a 9:00 p.m. eastern start-time. The two-hour primetime event will air live on NBC and MSNBC and can also be streamed using the networks’ digital apps or the Nevada Independent’s website. The debate will be streamed in Spanish on Telemundo’s app, Facebook page and website.
Moderating the debate are NBC’s Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, and Hallie Jackson along with Telemundo senior correspondent Vanessa Hauc and the Nevada Independent’s Jon Ralston.
Below are the candidates who will appear on stage along with their polling average in the Real Clear Politics latest aggregate of national surveys:
- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (24.8 percent)
- Former Vice President Joe Biden (17.8 percent)
- Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (14.6 percent)
- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (12.6 percent)
- Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (10.0 percent)
- Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (5.8 percent)
Wednesday night will be first time former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will face his Democratic rivals on stage for a primetime event as a late-entrant candidate who launched his bid in November.
Last month, the Democratic National Committee opened the door for Bloomberg to qualify by removing the donor requirement needed to participate allowing the Forbes estimated $64 billion-worth New Yorker self-funding his campaign to land a podium on the platform.
To qualify, candidates must have garnered as least 12 percent support in two polls conducted in Nevada and/or South Carolina or must have hit 10 percent in four polls conducted in those two states or in nationwide surveys between Jan. 15 and Feb. 18.
On Tuesday, Bloomberg met the support threshold for his last poll needed to score an invite taking second place with 19 percent in an NPR, PBS, Marist survey. Sanders took first with 31 percent and former Vice President Joe Biden came in third with 15 percent followed by Warren at 12, Klobuchar at 9, and Buttigieg at 8.
Bloomberg will likely bear a brunt of the attacks Wednesday night as the race nears closer to the Super Tuesday primaries being contested by the billionaire businessman who has run on a campaign strategy to skip the first four states in the process.
Now the candidates will have their chance to take aim at Bloomberg after a series of damaging past comments have surfaced over the weekend including “MeToo” allegations and off-the-cuff remarks about farmers that showcase the New York financier’s ignorance about agriculture.
The Washington Post reports that one woman alleges Bloomberg told her to “kill it” after learning she was pregnant.
During a university forum in 2016, Bloomberg also said farmers were unable to adapt to the 21st century information economy.
“The agrarian society lasted 3,000 years and we could teach processes. I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer,” Bloomberg told students at the University of Oxford. “It’s a process. You dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn. You could learn that. Then we had 300 years of the industrial society. You put the piece of metal on the lathe, you turn the crank in the direction of the arrow and you can have a job. And we created a lot of jobs. At one point, 98 percent of the world worked in agriculture, now it’s 2 percent in the United States.”
Bloomberg on why farmers can’t work in information technology
MB: “I can teach anyone how to be a farmer 1 dig a hole 2 put a seed in 3 put dirt on top 4 add water 5 up comes the corn”
— Pete (@NYBackpacker) February 15, 2020
Bloomberg has also come under heavy fire in recent days over his championing of “stop and frisk” while mayor that was ruled as racial harassment and unconstitutional. Last week, unveiled audio revealed Bloomberg discussing the policing strategy at a 2015 event with the Aspen Institute justifying placing police disproportionately in minority neighborhoods “because that’s where all the crime is.”
The debates have shown to be critical this cycle after Klobuchar eeked out a competitive third place finish in New Hampshire with a stellar debate performance in Manchester just four days before the primary where many voters cited her on-stage presentation as reason for their support.
The Democratic primary has entered an especially turbulent time following its first two contests with Biden’s campaign collapsing and Sanders emerging as a frontrunner clinching first-place in New Hampshire and capturing the popular vote in the Iowa caucuses despite narrowly losing in the Hawkeye State’s delegate count to former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg by a razor-thin margin. In recent weeks, Bloomberg’s massive operation running on virtually unlimited resources is now threatening to throw Democrats into further disarray with more than $400 million spent on advertising dwarfing the totals of other candidates.
Whether Bloomberg’s surge in polls leading to March 3 will remain however will hinder on the candidate’s ability to survive the new onslaught of damaging past comments now coming into the spotlight with two weeks to Super Tuesday.