Tom Steyer

The Democratic presidential nominating contest now heads into a critical phase.

The candidates have so far stood for elections in two of the whitest states in the country, Iowa and New Hampshire. But Nevada and South Carolina — the next two states to vote — will provide far more diverse electorates.

There are now no more official debates before Democrats begin voting.

Tuesday night's debate was the last before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3, and it featured six of the 12 remaining candidates — the top four of whom polls show to be neck and neck.

Democratic primary voters got a substantive debate in which the candidates clashed over what it means to be commander in chief, gender politics and, of course, health care.

Here are four takeaways from Tuesday night's debate:

Update at 3:30 p.m. ET

We're up to the seventh debate, and down to six candidates.

The leading Democratic presidential candidates return to the debate stage Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET — this time in Iowa, which hosts the first-in-the-nation caucuses in less than three weeks.

Updated at 12:25 p.m. ET

Viewers tuning in for the latest Democratic presidential candidates' debate Tuesday night may sense something missing in Des Moines.

The Democratic stage will be the smallest yet for next Tuesday's Iowa debate, with just six candidates set to qualify.

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer on Thursday likely became the latest candidate to qualify after two Fox News polls from Nevada and South Carolina showed him in the double digits. Steyer has been spending millions of dollars in early states to boost his chances.

Democratic presidential candidate entrepreneur Andrew Yang responds to questions following a Democratic presidential primary debate at Otterbein University, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019, in Westerville.
Tony Dejak / AP

Two of the Democrats and one Republican running for president have failed to be certified for Ohio's spring primary ballot. One will be a write-in candidate though. 

Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire former mayor of New York City, entered the Democratic presidential primary a month ago. He's already spent more than $100 million on advertising.

Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, another billionaire in the Democratic contest, have in total spent about $200 million so far, according to Advertising Analytics, a firm that tracks campaign ad expenditures.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, left, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., center and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg speak during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by CNN/New York Times at Otterbein University.
John Minchillo / AP

Fourteen candidates have filed for the Democratic primary for Ohio's 2020 primary ballot, and there will also be a Republican challenger to President Donald Trump on that ballot.

Democratic candidates on stage at a presidential primary debate at Texas Southern University on Sept. 12, 2019.
Eric Gay / Associated Press

The national Democratic chairman and four of the party's 2020 presidential contenders are scheduled to headline the Ohio Democratic Party's biggest annual fundraiser.

Hedge fund billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer is taking a campaign tour through Ohio, more than a week after launching a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tom Steyer, a California billionaire hedge fund manager and environmental activist, is the latest to jump into the Democratic presidential race.

Steyer has gained national attention with his quest to impeach President Trump. Steyer had previously said in January that he would not be running for president and would instead run a $40 million ad campaign to push for President Trump's impeachment.

Tom Steyer, center, talks to attendees at his "Need to Impeach" town hall in Columbus.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

A billionaire Democratic fundraiser who’s been running a TV and online campaign to impeach President Trump has launched what he says will be a series of at least 30 town hall meetings around the country, and he kicked it off in Columbus. He'll go to Cincinnati next.

Flickr

A billionaire activist’s campaign to impeach President Trump will host its first town hall meeting right here in Columbus.