The debate stage on Tuesday night in Westerville, Ohio, will look crowded, as a dozen Democratic presidential hopefuls take part in the matchup, breaking a record for the number of participants.
But the overall field remains even larger, remaining at a still-high level of 19. It has contracted only modestly in the past three months, with seven politicians dropping out of the race for the party’s 2020 nomination.
Former Vice President Joe Biden continues to lead the field in polls this week, though Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts briefly moved ahead of him last week in a widely followed average of polls.
The other Democrats seeking to take on President Donald Trump next year include Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Author and activist Marianne Williamson and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro also remain in the mix.
In September, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio became the most recent politician to exit the race, saying “it is clearly not my time.” His announcement followed departures in August by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.
In a RealClearPolitics moving average of polls on Monday, Biden had regained front-runner status, scoring 29.4% support vs. Warren’s 23.4%. Sanders, who is recovering from an Oct. 1 heart attack, drew 15.6% support, topping Buttigieg and Harris at 5.2% each, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke at 2.6% and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 2.4%. All other Democratic candidates are below 2%. Ahead of the Sept. 12 debate, Biden was drawing support of 27% vs. 17% each for Warren and Sanders.
The dozen Democrats who have qualified for Tuesday’s debate are Biden, Warren, Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris, Yang, Castro, O’Rourke, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and hedge-fund billionaire Tom Steyer. The matchup is set to break the record for the number of candidates appearing on a stage at once, topping the prior mark of 11 that was set by a Republican debate in 2015.
The first voter verdicts will come Feb. 3 with the Iowa caucuses.
Here is the MarketWatch list of contenders and the status of their deliberations, based on their statements:
|Name||Age||State of candidacy|
|Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams||45||Said Aug. 13 that she’s not running for president.|
|Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado||54||Running for president.|
|Former Vice President Joe Biden||76||Running for president.|
|Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey||50||Running for president.|
|Montana Gov. Steve Bullock||53||Running for president.|
|South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg||37||Running for president.|
|Ex-HUD chief Julián Castro||45||Running for president.|
|New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio||58||Was running for president, dropped out Sept. 20.|
|Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland||56||Running for president.|
|Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii||38||Running for president.|
|Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York||52||Was running for president, dropped out Aug. 28.|
|Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel||89||Was running for president, dropped out Aug. 6.|
|Sen. Kamala Harris of California||54||Running for president.|
|Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper||67||Was running for president, dropped out Aug. 15.|
|Washington Gov. Jay Inslee||68||Was running for president, dropped out Aug. 21.|
|Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota||59||Running for president.|
|Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam||45||Running for president.|
|Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts||40||Was running for president, dropped out Aug. 23.|
|Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas||47||Running for president.|
|Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio||46||Running for president.|
|Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont||78||Running for president.|
|Former Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania||67||Running for president.|
|Tom Steyer, billionaire investor and activist||62||Running for president.|
|Rep. Eric Swalwell of California||38||Was running for president, dropped out July 8.|
|Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts||70||Running for president.|
|Marianne Williamson, author and activist||67||Running for president.|
|Andrew Yang, founder of Venture for America||44||Running for president.|