First 2020 campaign debate draws healthy 15 million viewers

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The first of a pair of Democratic presidential primary debates drew a robust 15-plus million viewers.

Nielsen figures out Thursday show the event’s viewership topped every primary debate for the 2008 and 2012 elections.

But Wednesday’s debate, the first of the 2020 campaign, didn’t approach the numbers for the initial 2016 GOP primary debate.

Nearly 24 million viewers tuned in to see freshly minted candidate Donald Trump take the stage among other Republican contenders.

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The first Democratic debate for the 2016 cycle, including eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, drew nearly 15.8 million viewers.

The combined viewership Wednesday for the 10-candidate debate on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo was 15.3 million, Nielsen said.

Another 10 Democratic candidates, including early front-runners Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, were to take part in the Thursday debate.

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