Sanders is surging in polls, and a sweep of the first two contests in Iowa and New Hampshire appears within his grasp.
Anxiety appears to be building in the Clinton campaign, which has seen the race tighten.
Clinton’s performance at the first Democratic debate in October was a cornerstone of Clinton’s strong fall, which underlined her status as the clear frontrunner.
Coupled with a grueling but successful day of testimony before the House Benghazi panel in which Republicans failed to land a solid blow, the solid debate performance quieted doubts about the former secretary of state’s campaign.
Since then, there have been two more debates — neither of which was memorable.
Tonight’s affair is also out of the limelight: It will take place in the middle of a three-day holiday weekend for many voters.
Yet it represents a clear second shot of sorts for Sanders, who kept the gloves on in his first on-stage encounter with Clinton but not has a chance to reengage under a media spotlight.
Team Sanders is taking a cautious approach heading into the fight.
“We don’t feel like we have to go in there and heat it up,” Sanders advisor Tad Devine told The Hill.
“But if she starts to say he’s going to dismantle health care in America or some of the stuff they’ve been peddling out there on the campaign trail, he’s not going to let that slide. He’s going to engage on it and he’s going to be forceful.” Read more at THE HILL.