Don’t look now, but there’s a pivotal Democratic debate this week set in the upcoming primary state of South Carolina. The stage will expand to accommodate billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, in addition to former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg. The debate on Tuesday is sponsored by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

The South Carolina Democratic Primary will take place on February 29, which makes this event the last debate before the Palmetto State votes on Saturday and candidates then head into Super Tuesday on March 3 next week.

CBS News South Carolina Democratic Debate (10th Debate)
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
8 pm ET (7 pm CT, 6 pm MT, 5 pm PT)
Watch On: 
The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina
CBS News, Congressional Black Caucus Institute, Twitter
Norah O’Donnell, Gayle King, Margaret Brennan, Major Garrett

The debate will stream live on YouTube as well as CBSN, the new CBS News streaming service available on a variety of devices such as the Fire Stick, Roku, and smartphones.

Debate Candidates

The debate will feature seven candidates on stage, a bump up from the six appearing at the Nevada debate last week. This time around, Mike Bloomberg will appear in his second debate, and Tom Steyer will be back on the debate stage after missing the last debate.

Joe Biden
Pete Buttigieg
Amy Klobuchar
Bernie Sanders
Elizabeth Warren
Mike Bloomberg
Tom Steyer
Not Qualified
Tulsi Gabbard

How to Qualify

Candidates could qualify for the South Carolina debate through one of two ways: winning a delegate to the national convention out of Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada, or earning at least 10 percent in at least four DNC-approved polls (or 12 percent in two polls in South Carolina).

Tom Steyer will be the last candidate able to make the debate stage as no other candidates have shown anything close to the poll numbers required for a debate slot.

What to Watch For

After the bloodbath in Nevada, where the attacks were flying in all directions, many voters will be tuning in to see what happens in South Carolina. Bloomberg, by most accounts, seemed rather unprepared for the onslaught that awaited him in Las Vegas. Everything seemed to be fair game and he wasn’t ready to respond in kind. After his weak performance last week, it’s only reasonable to assume that he’ll intend to up his game this week and spend more time preparing.

Another billionaire will also be on stage this week which essentially doubles the targets for Bernie Sanders, and truthfully, Steyer is more of a threat in the short term. Once again, Bloomberg isn’t really competing in South Carolina, it’s Steyer who has spent the most time and money in the state out of the billionaire bros in the campaign.

Then, we come to Joe Biden. As a candidate, Biden needs a big wakeup boost in this debate. He needs to remind South Carolina voters why they’ve been sticking by him in the polls for so many months now and try to appeal as the “steady hand” in this campaign which is lurching left and being influence by big-money spending.

Bernie Sanders will be looking for his chance to build big on the momentum he achieved with victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, and hope to roll that into a South Carolina win heading toward the big contests in March.

Tune in on Tuesday night for the next debate installment and follow out 2020 Democratic Debate schedule page for all the details.