A rising Bloomberg qualifies for US Democratic debate

A rising Bloomberg qualifies for US Democratic debate

And former Vice President Joe Biden has promised a first- or second-place finish in Nevada and wants to show his campaign is still viable after disappointing finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Amy Klobuchar got 5 percent support. Elizabeth Warren is struggling to regain energy around her campaign.

Bloomberg is expected to endure heavy attacks from his opponents - and his performance may be a crucial test of his candidacy, political experts say, and for the party's 2020 nominating fight.

The downside is that Bloomberg's presence will distort the debate significantly.

"It's a shame Mike Bloomberg can buy his way into the debate", Warren tweeted on Tuesday.

The debate is both propitious and treacherous for Bloomberg. As someone who lived in New York City in the Bloomberg years, I can attest that he's smug and peevish and lacking in charisma.

For Warren, Klobuchar and Biden, the former front-runner who performed poorly in those two states, the Nevada debate is a critical opportunity for them to convince voters that they belong in the race heading into the stretch.

Now, as Sanders heads into the Nevada caucuses on Saturday with growing momentum following strong performances in earlier contests, he's facing additional pressure from his rivals to divulge more.

The uber-wealthy United States media tycoon's rise in polling, fueled by his astronomical spending on campaign advertising, has helped him qualify for his first 2020 debate. His team notes he never faced more than one rival at a time over three elections for New York City mayor. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who had 31%.

"If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that's not a winning formula for most people", Bloomberg said in the video, which was first reported on Tuesday by BuzzFeed News.

Sanders welcomed the fight as well.

"If you want to know, is somebody a good salesman, give him the job of going to the Midwest and picking a town and selling to that town the concept that some man wearing a dress should be in a locker room with their daughter", he said in that video. "That is called oligarchy, not democracy".

While the same age and race, Bloomberg and Sanders are ideological opposites. Candidates were previously required to receive a certain number of campaign contributions to qualify, but Bloomberg, who is worth an estimated $60 billion, is not taking donations. He has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to combat climate change and gun violence and promote immigration reform in recent years, yet he takes a decidedly pragmatic approach that celebrates incremental improvement backed by data.

The next debate is scheduled to be held in Columbia, South Carolina on February 25, days before the primary contest in the southern state.

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The focus on Bloomberg on the debate stage, of course, means there will be less oxygen for others at a critical moment.

When PPIC most recently surveyed likely voters in January, Sanders was in first place but remained in a statistical tie with Biden and Warren.

A new poll has Bloomberg surging, ahead of the Nevada primary.

This was followed the next day by a statement by Culinary Workers Union Secretary Treasurer Geoconda Argüello-Kline claiming that Sanders supporters had "viciously attacked the union and working families in Nevada" on social media after the union distributed a leaflet to members saying Sanders would "end Culinary Healthcare" if elected president.

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