Sanders campaign threatens lawsuit, staffer fired

Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, talks to Bernie Sanders after a Democratic presidential primary debate, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

WASHINGTON (MEDIA GENERAL) – After an estimated 18 million Americans tuned in for Tuesday’s final GOP debate of 2015, a much smaller audience is likely to watch the last Democratic debate of the year.

On Friday, the campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was forced to apologize for the behavior of a staffer who allegedly used private Democratic party voter data. In a news conference on Friday afternoon, Mr. Sanders campaign manager promised the behavior was not sanctioned by the campaign.

“That behavior is unacceptable to the Sanders campaign, and we fired the staffer immediately,” said Jeff Weaver, at a press conference near Capitol Hill.

The Democratic National Committee, which is the owner of the voting data, is temporarily blocking access to the Sanders campaign as part of the investigation into the breach. The decision to block access lead to a decision by the Sanders campaign to consider a federal lawsuit against the party but as of late Friday no decision had been announced.

One last debate

On Saturday, in Manchester, New Hampshire, the three remaining Democratic presidential hopefuls will gather to discuss national security, the economy, and how they’d lead the nation. The latest polls continue to show former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with a commanding lead over both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Gov. Martin O’Malley.

A Monmouth University Poll, released on Wednesday, showed Clinton with a strong jump from her rankings before her testimony to a committee investigating the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.

December:
Clinton: 59%
Sanders: 26%
O’Malley: 4%

September:
Clinton: 42%
Sanders: 20%
O’Malley: 1%

“We had very little name recognition, outside of New England, well I think it’s fair to say, a lot has changed, in seven months,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), while addressing the tough odds he’ll face to capture the Democratic nomination.

Will anyone watch?

Saturday night’s debate, moderated by ABC’s David Muir and Martha Raddatz, will be the second to last debate before Democratic voter’s caucus in Iowa.  The Democratic party scheduled the previous debate on a Saturday but likely saw a boost in viewership following the terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13.

TOP TEN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DEBATES IN HISTORY*

  1. Fox News Republican Debate, Cleveland Ohio (8/6/2015)          23,997 million
  2. CNN Republican Debate, Reagan Library (9/16/2015)                23,056
  3. CNN Republican Debate, Las Vegas (12/15/2015)                    18,039
  4. CNN Democratic Debate, Las Vegas (10/13/2015)                    15,459
  5. CNBC Republican Debate, Boulder CO (10/28/2015)                 14,005
  6. FBN Republican Debate, Milwaukee, WI (11/10/2015)               13,454
  7. ABC Democratic Debate, Philadelphia (4/16/2008)                    10,693
  8. ABC Democratic Debate, New Hampshire (1/5/2008)                  9,362
  9. CBS Democratic Debate, Des Moines (11/14/2015)                    8,552
  10. CNN Democratic Debate, Los Angeles (1/31/2008)                     8,324

*Source: CNN

For the latest information on what’s happening in the Race for the White House , follow @markpmeredith on Twitter.

 

 

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