Democratic Debate: 7 Candidates to Take Stage in New Hampshire After Chaotic Iowa Caucuses

February 7, 2020 Updated: February 7, 2020
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Seven Democratic presidential candidates will gather on a debate stage in New Hampshire on Feb. 7, four days before voters head to the polls to cast their ballots in the first-in-the-nation primary.

Candidates will try to sway voters with final arguments in an event that will likely include direct attacks among the contenders. Tensions are especially high because of the bungled Iowa Democratic caucuses, which still have no officially declared winner.

Ex-South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 38, maintained a narrow lead over Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), 78, with 100 percent of all precincts reported on Thursday night, but irregularities in the reporting process and talk of a recanvass stopped groups and news outlets from definitively declaring Buttigieg on top.

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Former South Bend, Ind., mayor and 2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington on Jan. 23, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
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Democratic Presidential Candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during a press conference at his New Hampshire campaign headquarters in Manchester on Feb. 6, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Like most candidates, the men traveled to New Hampshire after the Feb. 3 caucuses to meet with voters. The candidates who qualified for the debate were joined in the state by other contenders still in the race, two of whom have focused primarily on winning the first primary in the nation in the hope it would vault them into the spotlight.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), 38, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), 55, have struggled to gain traction in the polls, finishing with virtually no votes in Iowa. But they both have high hopes for New Hampshire, and could pose an additional challenge for more established candidates.

Bennet made plans late last year to hold 50 town halls in New Hampshire in the months leading up to the primary, making the case to voters for why he’s the best candidate to beat President Donald Trump. He has a town hall on Friday shortly before the debate starts, and five more before the Tuesday primary.

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Democratic presidential candidate former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick speaks speaks to students after a town hall meeting at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. on, Feb. 3, 2020. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)
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Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) hosts a town hall meeting at the Keene Public Library in Keene, N.H. on Jan. 21, 2020. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Gabbard has been surfing and snowboarding in New Hampshire since the New Year in addition to appearances at a number of more traditional events. “As I’ve traveled across the state, preparing for the first-in-the-nation primary next week, I am heartened by how Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians are coming together at our town halls every day, working side by side to ensure our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people—not the powerful elite,” she said in a statement last week.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, 63, has also been trying to drum up votes in New Hampshire.

Poor showings in the state could torpedo any of the campaigns.

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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) arrives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Feb. 3, 2020. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
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Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) talks to media during a break in the closing arguments of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump in Washington on Feb. 3, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
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Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden wishes Barbara Moroney, of Rocky Point, N.Y., a happy 80th birthday on the phone during a campaign rally in Nashua, N.H. on Feb. 4, 2020. (Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

Buttigieg and Sanders will be joined on the stage at 8 p.m. by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 70, former Vice President Joe Biden, 78, former tech executive Andrew Yang, 45, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, 62, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), 59.

The debate, held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, will last for around three hours.

ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton aide, will moderate, along with David Muir and Linsey Davis of ABC and WMUR-TV political director Adam Sexton. ABC will air the debate on television and an online livestream.

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Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks during a campaign event in Keene, New Hampshire on Feb. 5, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in an elevator during a break in the closing arguments of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 3, 2020. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
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Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer speaks to the New Hampshire Youth Climate and Clean Energy Town Hall at the Bank Of New Hampshire Stage in Concord, New Hampshire on Feb. 5, 2020. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP via Getty Images)

The next debates are slated for Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Feb. 25 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 77, who announced his bid for the presidency late last year around the time Patrick did, may qualify for the Vegas debate after the Democratic National Committee eliminated one of two thresholds candidates needed to meet.

Bloomberg, a billionaire who has already spent hundreds of millions of his fortune on the race, has not made a debate stage yet.

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