Des Moines, Ia (Des Moines Register)- CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and Des Moines Register chief politics reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel will moderate Tuesday night’s Democratic Presidential Debate in Des Moines.
It will be the final debate before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, when the first votes are cast in the presidential nominating race. The debate, from 8 to 10 p.m. will be held on the Drake University campus in Des Moines.
Five candidates have qualified for the debate so far: former Vice President Joe Biden; former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Other candidates have until the end of the day Friday to meet the donor and polling threshold requirements to qualify.
CNN is hosting the debate in partnership with the Register.
About the moderators:
Pfannenstiel joined the Register five years ago as a Statehouse reporter and was promoted to chief politics reporter in 2018. In the 2016 caucus cycle, she covered the campaigns of then-Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and businessman Donald Trump.
In the 2020 cycle, she’s working toward a “Full Grassley,” having reported from half of Iowa’s 99 counties. Pfannenstiel has broken national news this cycle and has authored an ongoing series, “Three Counties,” that explores how the counties of Clinton, Johnson, and Polk may be key to winning Iowa, the nomination and, ultimately, the presidency.
“Brianne is a smart, diligent reporter who digs deeply into the players, issues, and culture that shape Iowa’s political landscape,” said Register executive editor Carol Hunter. “Her work as moderator will be informed not only by her knowledge of the caucus process but also by the perspectives of the hundreds of Iowans she has interviewed on the caucus trail in the past year.”
Before coming to Iowa, Pfannenstiel covered politics and policy in Kansas and Missouri for five years. A Kansas native, she earned a journalism degree from the University of Kansas and lives in Des Moines.
Blitzer, who has worked for CNN for 30 years, is the network’s lead political anchor and the anchor of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.” In the last presidential campaign cycle, he served as moderator for Republican debates in Nevada and Texas and a Democratic debate in New York.
Blitzer began his career with the Reuters News Agency. Known for his Middle East expertise, he was the Washington, D.C., correspondent for the Jerusalem Post for 15 years. He has interviewed notable world figures from former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to former South African President Nelson Mandela and seven U.S. presidents. He has a history degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a master’s in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.
Phillip, who is based in Washington, D.C., when not on the campaign trail, joined the network in 2017 and served as White House correspondent through 2019. Phillip previously was a national political reporter for the Washington Post, covering the Trump White House, and reported on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. She also was a digital reporter for politics for ABC News and covered the Obama White House for Politico. Phillip has a degree in government from Harvard University.
The Democratic National Committee and the Iowa Democratic Party are also partnering on the debate. The DNC is handling tickets. Those interested in attending are asked to register their interest through a form on the DNC website. Applicants are advised that “due to extreme interest and limited capacity the vast majority of requests are not able to be accommodated.”
The DNC also has cautioned that the debate date could be moved if there is a conflict with the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump.