Tonight: Democratic Candidates Square Off In 5th Debate With New Top Candidate

Ten Democratic presidential candidates are set to square off for the fifth time on Wednesday night as they take to the stage in Atlanta to debate which of them ought to win their party’s nomination.

The MSNBC/Washington Post co-hosted debate will be held from 9 pm to 11 pm at Tyler Perry Studios, ABC News reports, with the following candidates: New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, California Senator Kamala Harris, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and businessman Tom Steyer.

For candidates to qualify for the debate, they were required to obtain “165,000 individual donors and either four polls from a DNC-approved list of sponsors with at least 3% support or two polls from any of the early voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — with at least 5% support,” ABC News reports.

For the first time in the presidential primary, Buttigieg will enter the debate as the top candidate in both Iowa and New Hampshire polls.

“In the past debates, he’s come out swinging and he’s landed some punches,” said Ball State Political Science Assistant Professor Chad Kinsella, per USA Today. “As his popularity has grown, I don’t think they’re going to let him go. I think a couple of people will come after him and bring him back down to Earth.”

The other three frontrunners—Biden, Warren, and Sanders—will likely have to make a statement in the debate if they hope to break from the pack and cement themselves at the top. Other lower-polling candidates may look to take on any of the frontrunners if they hope to stay in the race and keep their 2020 hopes alive. At a minimum, these candidates will be looking to use the stage in Atlanta to bolster their own support as they look to qualify for the next Democratic debate in Los Angeles.

Candidates still in the running will meet again on December 20 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. For candidates to qualify for the debate, they must meet a threshold of 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 donors per state in at least 20 states, and get at least 4 percent in at least four national polls. Candidates can also satisfy the voting requirement by getting at least 6 percent support in two early voting states polls, including those in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina. The two polls can be conducted in the same state.

Candidates have until December 12 to qualify for the debate.