The stage is prepared where the CNN/New York Times will host the Democratic presidential primary debate at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The Latest: 4th Democratic presidential debate kicks off

October 15, 2019 - 8:00 pm

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on the fourth Democratic presidential debate (all times local):

8 p.m.

The fourth debate of the Democratic presidential primary is underway with the largest field yet on stage together at a pivotal time in the campaign.

Twelve candidates are debating Tuesday in Ohio. At center stage are front-runners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren. Another top-tier candidate, Bernie Sanders, is back just two weeks after suffering a heart attack and suspending his campaigning.

It could be the last 2020 presidential debate for some candidates. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke, former Housing Secretary Julián Castro and Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard have not yet met fundraising and polling thresholds to participate in the November debate.

Also participating are California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

___

4:50 p.m.

A trio of Iowa officials is criticizing the Democratic National Committee for instituting polling and fundraising thresholds to participate in the presidential debates, complaining they're artificially winnowing the field of candidates and usurping the job of Iowa caucusgoers.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa DNC member Jan Bauer said on a conference call with reporters Tuesday that most Iowans are not tuning into the Democratic presidential debates and have not yet made up their minds.

The call was organized by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock's presidential campaign. Bullock has failed to make the stage for recent debates, including Tuesday's in Ohio.

Miller and Bauer have endorsed Bullock.

Former Iowa Democratic Party Chair and former U.S. Rep. Dave Nagle said the DNC is shutting out those without access to wealth or name recognition.

___

12:05 a.m.

Democrats are confronting a rapidly shifting political landscape as a dozen candidates meet on Tuesday for the most crowded presidential debate in modern history.

The House impeachment inquiry that has put President Donald Trump on the offensive has also reordered the political calculus for Democrats, especially Joe Biden. The former vice president is facing baseless — but persistent — allegations of wrongdoing overseas from Trump and his allies.

His early front-runner status is also under threat from Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. But as she rises, Warren is also fending off new questions about her biography.

Adding to the drama, Bernie Sanders is recovering from a heart attack that raised questions about his ability to withstand a campaign and about who might win his support if he had to drop out.

Comments ()