BOSTON (CBS) – Actor/director Tyler Perry’s studios in Atlanta are hosting tonight’s Democratic debate, with a field that has to produce a breakout star like Madea.

Ten candidates made the cut for this month’s debate, with the top four in the polls – Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – at center stage.

And Georgia political expert Rashad Richey sees it as a key moment for the former frontrunner.

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders (L), Former VP Joe Biden (C) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Photo credit ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

“I’m looking for Joe Biden to hold his own. He doesn’t really have to hit a grand slam, but he can’t fail in the debate,” he told CBS. “I’m also looking for Warren and Sanders to figure out ways to continue to show how they’re different from each other in their ideology.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms believes Georgia voters are looking for stability. “People want a voice of reason right now. There is so much uncertainty and so much anxiety in people.”

Could that candidate be Buttigieg, who has jumped to the top of the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire?

He’ll surely take some heat tonight, as will Warren, whose Medicare for All plans continue to draw fire. The economic slowdown will likely be on the agenda.

It’ll be interesting to see if anyone takes on the candidacy of Deval Patrick, who did not qualify for this debate, and the potential run of Michael Bloomberg.

And if the latest testimony in the impeachment investigation of President Trump doesn’t get some play, Democrats across the country may do damage to their TV sets.

We’ll have debate highlights and analysis at 11 p.m. on WBZ News, and I’ll have more extensive analysis online afterward.

Jon Keller

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