South Carolina debate kicks off ahead of primary

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photo: Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) —  The Democratic presidential debate is kicking off in South Carolina ahead of the state’s weekend primary.

Seven candidates are participating in Tuesday night’s high-stakes debate in Charleston. It could be the White House hopefuls’ final prime-time opportunity to change the direction of the 2020 nomination fight, with Bernie Sanders as the party’s presidential front-runner.

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg was the focus of last week’s debate for his highly anticipated debut, but after a bad performance froze his momentum, the knives are out for the 78-year-old Vermont senator.

Sanders’ handling of the pressure could be crucial in determining whether he stays at the top of the Democratic pack.

Tuesday’s forum comes just four days before South Carolina’s first-in-the-South primary and one week before more than a dozen states vote on Super Tuesday.

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