by Rose Brennan & Megan Dreher, Senior Writers
After announcing his presidential candidacy last November, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg was not a mainstay at any of the Democratic debates following. That all changed on Wednesday night, as he took the stage on Feb. 19 with five other candidates at the tenth Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nev.
Soon after the six candidates took the stage, it quickly became open season on Bloomberg, who has spent over $200 million on his campaign. Bloomberg is one of the richest men in the world, and is currently polling in third place behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and former vice president Joe Biden.
The largest attack on Bloomberg on Wednesday night came from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who addressed some controversial statements he made in the class regarding women.
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren said. “I’m not talking about Donald Trump; I’m talking about Michael Bloomberg.”
Warren also asked about the several non-disclosure agreements some of Bloomberg’s female employees signed regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, and asked him if he would consider releasing them from those agreements so people could hear the women’s side of the story. While his answer was not as definitive on Wednesday night, he did agree to release three women from their non-disclosure agreements later that week.
Tensions were also high between the more moderate candidates, particularly Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former mayor Pete Buttigieg. Buttigieg commented on Klobuchar’s inability to remember the name of Mexico’s president, despite standing on several foreign affairs committees in direct relation to Mexico. This led Klobuchar to ask Buttigieg if he was mocking her.
Unlike several of the earlier debates, Biden almost faded into the background, except when he, too, participated in the seemingly collective verbal takedown of Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg also notably clashed with Sanders. Sanders, who identifies as a democratic socialist, has a long-standing vendetta against billionaires and their ability to “buy” the electoral process and influence Washington politics. Bloomberg also came after Sanders, asking him how someone who identifies as a socialist could be a millionaire and have three houses.
But the performances in the Las Vegas debate all came down to the wire on Saturday, when the Nevada caucuses were held. These caucuses are highly awaited because they provide a more comprehensive view of the American population as opposed to the other early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
On Saturday night, Sanders emerged victorious. As of press time, he garnered 13 pledged candidates. Biden placed a distant second with two pledged delegates, and Buttigieg left Nevada with a grand total of one. Klobuchar, Warren, businessman Tom Steyer, Bloomberg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard all left Nevada with no delegates to their name.
Sanders’ recent victory in Nevada pushes him to the head of the delegate count, passing by delegate frontrunner Buttigieg for the first time. Now, Sanders is both at the head of the delegate count and the national polls for candidates.
The next primary will be held in South Carolina on Feb. 29. After this primary will be the long-awaited “Super Tuesday” on March 3, when 13 states (Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont and Virginia) will hold their primary elections. Similar to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries, a poor performance on Super Tuesday could spell the end of a campaign.