First Democratic presidential debate to air Tuesday night

Bernie Sanders
In this July 6,2015, photo, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine. Sanders is packing 'em in: 10,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin. More than 2,500 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Another 7,500 this week in Portland. The trick for the independent senator from Vermont is to turn all that excitement into something more than a summer fling.( (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

LAS VEGAS, NV (NEWS10) – Tuesday evening could be a make or break moment for several presidential candidates, as the Democrats gather in Las Vegas for their first debate.

By now, most voters know the names Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.

For the three other candidates, Tuesday night’s debate could be the perfect chance to surge to the top of the pack.

Polls show Joe Biden would become a top tier candidate as soon as he joined the race. For Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee and Jim Webb, the road to widespread appeal among democrats has been much more difficult.

Luis Miranda, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee, says of Biden, “I think that regardless of whether he’s on stage or not, this is going to be a field that we’re already seeing in all of the talk and all of the coverage building up to this debate that this is going to be a substantive conversation.”

Tonight gives them a chance to contrast their own positions with the frontrunners: Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders.

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley says, “These debates are make and break for every campaign. Lots of people are going to be viewing this, given how few of them there will be this year.”

CNN polls in the early voting states of Nevada and South Carolina show Clinton and Sanders as the clear favorites going into the debate.

Sanders, at least, says he plans to maintain a positive tone and stay away from personal attacks.

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, “Let’s treat each other civilly, let’s treat each other respectfully, and let’s not try to demonize people who may have disagreements with us.”

When it comes to Clinton’s far-and-away lead in many polls, for some candidates, it may be “anything goes” at Tuesday night’s debate.

The debate starts at 8:30 p.m. on CNN, and you can catch dedicated coverage on NEWS10ABC starting at 10 p.m. tonight on FOX23.

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