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Five Democratic presidential candidates meet for opening debate

Sen. Bernie Sanders from Vermont is seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Photo from Facebook

CNN is hosting the first Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, at 8:30pm Eastern time tonight.

Five candidates will appear on stage, a much smaller field than the ones seen at the Republican debates. They are: Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Martin O'Malley, Bernie Sanders and Jim Webb.

Clinton, a former U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State, leads the polls among her peers, according to Real Clear Politics. Sanders, a U.S. Senator from Vermont, follows.

A Democrat who isn't officially in the race -- Vice President Joe Biden -- is polling third but he is not slated to appear tonight.

The candidates haven't talked much about Indian issues but Clinton, O'Malley and Sanders oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline. Tribes have been fighting the project due to concerns about treaty lands, water, health and safety.

Clinton also has made news for reaching out to Indian voters in Nevada. The state's Democratic caucus takes place February 20, 2016, and is one of the earliest in the electoral cycle.

The Republican candidates have so far met for two debates. Both scored high ratings, a situation attributed to the large field and the presence of Donald Trump in the race. He continues to lead the GOP polls, according to Real Clear Politics.

Get the Story:
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders finally face off (CNN 10/13)
Democrats see a more substantive, if sleepy, debate than rowdy GOP show (The Washington Post 10/13)
Democratic Debate Will Reveal Subtle Divides, if Not Wide Gaps (The New York Times 10/13)

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