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Laura Pederson, of Louisville, center, and Tim Weston, left, watch as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren answers a question during the presidential candidate debate on Wednesday. The Boulder County Democratic Party held a watch party that drew a crowd of about 70 people.
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Wednesday night, 10 Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential election filed onto a stage in downtown Miami. More than 2,000 miles away, a crowd packed Boulder County Democratic Party headquarters.

The first round of many rounds applause from the roughly 70 people in attendance erupted when the candidates hit the stage. It was an audible expression of the hopefulness of the crowd, many of whose members said they had not yet decided who they would vote for, but were waiting to see if a forerunner emerged Wednesday night.

The debate marked the first of two. With 20 candidates in the running, the pool was divided in half, with the first debate taking place Wednesday and another planned for Thursday. Ten candidates were selected at random to debate Wednesday and included (in alphabetical order), Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former HUD Secretary Julián Castro, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Paul Korda, of Longmont, applauds an answer by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren during the presidential candidate debate Wednesday. Korda was among the 70 or so people who attended the Boulder County Democratic Party watch party in Boulder.

In the Boulder crowd Wednesday Karstee Davis , of Longmont, said the atmosphere was one of her reasons she left the comfort of her couch to watch the debate.

“It kind of feels like a Super Bowl,” Davis said. “You know, getting together with your friends to root for the good guys.”

Davis said she hoped the two-part debate series would help to narrow down candidates so the race could become a “little more focused.”

Davis is not yet sure who she will cast her vote for, but said she had a few candidates she was leaning toward.

Throughout the debate, candidates sparred over solutions for giving more economic power to the average American, fixing bureaucracy at the southern border and women’s reproductive rights, to name but a few topics.

Paul Adams , of Austin, Texas, said he was vacationing at a family cabin near Nederland, which has no TV or phone service. Adams broke his wilderness solace Wednesday and drove to Boulder to watch the debate.

“For me, it’s going to be real interesting to see who attracts more attention,” Adams said. “Charisma has an awful lot to do with political appeal. You don’t know who has charisma until you see them in a public setting.”

Former state Sen. Ron Tupa , of Boulder, also hoped the debate helped highlight a stronger candidate.

“I’m still undecided on who to support for president,” Tupa said. “This is my first real examination of the candidates and their position.”

Liz Marasco , vice chair of external communications for the Boulder County Democratic Party, said she was moved by the number of people who turned out to see the debate. She said she hoped to see the same turnout Thursday, too.

“We had so much outreach from the community about wanting to do this to gather together and watch the debates,” Marasco said.

The following candidates will take the stage Thursday (in alphabetical order): Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, Rep. Eric Swalwell of California, author Marianne Williamson and businessman Andrew Yang.

If you go

What: Watch party for part two of the Democratic presidential candidate debate

When: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., debate starts at 7 p.m.

Where: Boulder County Democratic Party headquarters, 5735 Arapahoe Ave., No. A1

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