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10 Democrats set for fifth presidential debate in Atlanta

By
Daniel Uria
Democratic presidential candidates, from left to right, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris prior to the September 12 debate in Houston. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Democratic presidential candidates, from left to right, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and California Sen. Kamala Harris prior to the September 12 debate in Houston. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 20 (UPI) -- A field of 10 Democratic presidential candidates will take the stage Wednesday night in Atlanta for the fifth round of debates.

There have been a few changes in the competition for the Democratic nomination to challenge GOP President Donald Trump in the weeks since the last debate. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan have dropped out of the race; former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has jumped in.

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Wednesday's debate will take place from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST at Tyler Perry Studios and will be broadcast and moderated by MSNBC.

Who's in

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Ten candidates qualified to participate, down from a record 12 at the last debate in Ohio on Oct. 15.

Here are the contenders who have met the party's more stringent requirements of 165,000 unique donors in at least 20 states, and 3 percent support in four national polls or polls in the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Candidates could also qualify with 5 percent in two early-state polls.



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Steyer is appearing in his second debate and Gabbard in her fourth. The other eight candidates have appeared in every debate.

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Who's out

Several candidates failed to meet the tighter requirements. They are:

Patrick, as a new entry to the field, didn't have enough time to meet the new requirements, but could qualify for the sixth debate on Dec. 19 in Los Angeles.

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The Atlanta debate is the first in which Buttgieg is expected to receive more attention from the other candidates, given his lead in some Iowa polls. His more prominent status has been fueled by a wave of popularity in some of the other early voting states like New Hampshire.

"Everyone's going to come for Pete. There's a target on his back, no question about it. That's what happens when you jump in the polls," said Jon Soltz, executive director of VoteVets, a group that supports veterans for office. "I know Pete and he will show he can take the heat and punch back."

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The rules

Each of the candidates will have 75 seconds to answer questions and 45 seconds for follow-ups. The moderators are allowed to give a candidate more time to respond if they are mentioned by another candidate.

Organizers said the candidates will be asked a balanced number of questions to cut down on uneven shares of time. In the last debate, for example, Warren spoke for more than 20 total minutes while Steyer spoke for less than 8. Also, there will be no opening statements, but candidates will have just over 1 minute to make closing remarks.

The candidates' positions onstage will be determined by their donor and poll support, with the best performing contenders at center.

The debate will be moderated by a panel that includes MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell, NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent Kristen Welker and Washington Post White House correspondent Ashley Parker.

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