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Latest debate still sees Biden at the top, with Warren and Sanders still positioning, says ESU professor

An Emporia State political scientist sees the Democratic presidential race beginning to narrow, with another data point coming from the debate that took place Tuesday in Ohio.

“These races typically resolve into a standard bearer and a challenger,” said Michael Smith. “I would say that Joe Biden is still the standard-bearer, but the standard-bearer doesn’t always win. Obama was the challenger in 2008 and he won. Elizabeth Warren seems to be emerging.”

Bernie Sanders hasn’t given up the fight yet either, even on the heels of a heart attack.

“He was very strong,” said Smith. “He sounded just like Bernie. He had a lot of energy. Last night, I thought, and I think at many of these debates, he’s one of the more standout candidates that can continue to separate himself from the pack even after three hours of talking.”

It’s important to note, though, that the so-called Veepstakes isn’t really a thing in recent history.

“There haven’t been any vice-presidential nominees in modern times that have been other candidates that ran against the eventual nominee in the primary,” said Smith. “Mike Pence wasn’t, Joe Biden wasn’t, Dick Cheney wasn’t and that takes us all the way back to 2000.”

Smith did not mention John Edwards, who was the VP nominee with the eventual loser, John Kerry in 2004.


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