First 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates

NOW: First 2020 Democratic presidential primary debates


SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- There’s a lot riding on the first Democratic Primary Debate for Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

He’s currently being tested in real time as the Mayor of South Bend by the community and starting tomorrow, when he takes the stage, he’s going to be tested by the entire nation.

At the beginning of Pete Buttigieg’s campaign, voters across the nation knew very little about the 37 year old Mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

“It’'s funny that things have changed so much that he becomes a front-running candidate coming into it. He has been the unqualified, undeniable, success story of the democratic field of the first half of this year," said ABC political correspondent, Rick Klien.

Rising in the polls from 0 percent at the end of 2018 to now only trailing behind the top names on the Democratic Primary ballot.

“Can you keep that going now that we get into this debate season, you’re going to have debates roughly once a month. We haven’t seen that side of Mayor Pete yet," said Klien. 

He’s taking the stage with some of the democratic party’s leading contenders Thursday night like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Kamala Harris.

“Yeah if i’m Buttigieg’s campaign, I like the draw here. First, Biden and Bernie Sanders are likely to go after each other more than anyone else and that sucks up a lot of negative oxygen in the room. If i’m calculating this as Mayor Pete, or Kamala Harris, you might see this is an opportunity to more straight forwardly give you our message, allow the other two guys in the middle to bicker a little bit, show your generational differences, show your ideological differences and show thematic difference that could be key here," said Klien.

On a stage of 20 candidates pushing to get their message across over two nights, Mayor Pete doesn’t have time to spare to get America’s attention.

“If you do the math you’re talking about seven or eight minutes per person over the course of two nights if everyone gets exactly equal time and that, of course, you can never bank on that either.”

Recent tensions between South Bend Police Department and the African American community after the deadly police involved shooting of 54 year Eric Logan, will no doubt place Mayor Pete on the hot seat once again.

“It’s a lot because for him to stop and push pause on his life to come take heat to the things that’s happening in this city, people should respect that in itself, because as a busy person and individual such as him, him being here alone and listening. That’s what it takes is someone to have an open ear," said South Bend resident, Brandan Watts.

“I think Mayor Pete is a good guy. I think—i don’t agree with any of his policies, domestically or internationally, which is becoming more of a problem, so I’m not supporting him as president, i think being a nice guy and being a president are two very different things," said South Bend resident, Paul Mishler.

“I think he’s going to need to show that he’s in control of the city, in control of the situation acting decisively, acting strongly, and listening to even some critics along the way. If he isn’t able to demonstrate that he can be an effective and even unifying mayor, it becomes that much harder for him to make the broader argument that he should be the next president," said Klien.

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