The Democratic presidential field has shrunk from two dozen candidates all the way down to 12 now that New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has become the latest to drop out of the race. He couldn't muster enough financial support or grab enough attention to bring up his meager poll numbers.
Only half of the 12 remaining candidates will be allowed to take the debate stage in Iowa at 9 p.m. Tuesday night. They needed to prove top-tier status to qualify, and that included 225,000 unique donors and higher poll numbers.
It's their final debate before the Iowa caucuses officially kick off the Democratic voting on February 3. Of the six candidates on the stage, four will be men and two will be women:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT)
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA)
- Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, IN
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN)
- Billionaire Tom Steyer
Businessman Andrew Yang didn't make the stage due to low poll numbers, and billionaire Michael Bloomberg didn't qualify because he's mainly been funding his campaign with his own money and didn't have enough donors.
Meanwhile, polls show a tight and potentially shifting race for these 2020 presidential hopefuls. A new Monmouth poll shows Joe Biden in the lead once again with 24 percent of Iowa caucusgoers supporting him.
That poll shows Sanders with 18 percent support, Buttigieg with 17 percent, and Warren with 15 percent.
IOWA DEM CAUCUS POLL: #2020Dem preference:
1st choice (1st+2nd combined)
24% (34) @JoeBiden
18% (32) @BernieSanders
17% (32) @PeteButtigieg
15% (38) @EWarren
8% (18) @AmyKlobuchar
4% (8) @TomSteyer
3% (7) @AndrewYang
2% (3)@TulsiGabbard #IowaCaucus https://t.co/KAIxWneDSz
— MonmouthPoll (@MonmouthPoll) January 13, 2020
But a Des Moines Register poll shows socialist Sanders ahead in the state. Many Democratic insiders are growing concerned that Sanders could possibly win the party's nomination, and they worry that the socialist candidate would alienate the swing voters they need to help them beat President Trump in November.
The debate also comes amid a controversy about Sanders supposedly telling his fellow progressive Sen. Warren that he didn't believe a woman could win the election. He denies it, but she's confirmed it.
WATCH: Just How Important are the Iowa Caucuses in This Year's Election?