Podcast: With candidates piling onto Bloomberg, Sanders escapes front-runner pressure

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This week, Texas Signal spoke with long-time Texas politics consultant Kier Murray about the latest Democratic debate and other election-related happenings in the Lone Star State.

The nine Democratic debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday night saw candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden going after former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg during his first debate appearance. That dynamic took off some of the heat that would have normally gone to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who recently began polling as the race’s front-runner by low double-digit margins. 

“By default, Bernie Sanders emerged as benefiting from what happened last night, largely because everyone was focused on Bloomberg and taking him down, or in the case of Amy and Pete, going at each other,” Murray said. “And as the front-runner, [Sanders] largely emerged unscathed and that’s the place you want to be if you have the lead, even though it’s with a small plurality of the vote, nonetheless, if he’s on track to get a plurality of the delegates, nothing happened last night that’s going to change that trajectory.”

Murray also discussed the U.S. Senate race in Texas, which he said will likely go to a runoff with one of the two runoff spots going to Hegar (who recently began polling as the clear front-runner in the race) and the other spot going to any number of candidates who are currently polling closely within second place.

Nonetheless, Murray said it’s tough to say if the race will generate more attention. 

“None of the candidates have had the kind of financial resources– and I would include MJ Hegar in this group by the way– none of them has had the kind of resources needed to really break through in a state this big,” Murray said. “And so I think it’s continued largely to be a backburner race for that reason. My guess is that it will get more focused in a runoff, which we’re almost certainly going to see.”

You can listen to the full episode here.

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

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