The seventh Democratic presidential primary debate begins at 9 p.m. local time at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Participating candidates had to meet polling and fundraising minimums to qualify for the highly-publicized event.
According to tonight's broadcasting host, CNN, candidates needed to receive a 5 percent figure in at least four DNC-approved national or early state (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) polls, or receive 7 percent in two early state polls.
Democratic presidential hopefuls also needed to receive donations from at least 225,000 unique donors, and a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state, in at least 20 different states.
CNN and broadcasting cohost The Des Moines Register stated that this Democratic presidential debate will be the last chance for qualifying candidates to use national television to make their pitch for why they deserve to win the nomination before the upcoming Iowa caucus.
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