Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren have been debate targets of rival 2020 Democrats at candidate face-offs in recent months. Now, it may be Pete Buttigieg’s turn.
The Atlanta debate on Wednesday, sponsored by the Democratic National Committee, offers opponents of the South Bend, Indiana, mayor a chance to take him down a peg after some polls have shown the 37-year-old surging. His rise, less than three months out from the first nominating contests, the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3 and the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11, have moved him closer to the top tier of 2020 Democrats, which includes Biden, the former vice president, Warren, a Massachusetts senator, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
A Monmouth University poll released this week found Buttigieg leading the rest of the Democratic field in Iowa, with 22% support in the state, a 14-point increase since the same poll was conducted in August. A RealClearPolitics average of primary polls put his support at 19.7% support in Iowa, a statistical tie with Warren, who sits at first with 20%.
“There’s no question he’ll receive attacks in the upcoming Democratic debate. Biden was the target in the first debate and Warren last time,” Aaron Kall, director of debate at the University of Michigan, told the Washington Examiner. “The polls are important, but the amount and kind of attention Buttigieg gets will kind of serve as an accurate representation of what the candidates really think of him.”