Seven Democratic presidential hopefuls will square off tonight in Los Angeles, marking the candidates' first formal debate in California, and likely the best opportunity to hear them discuss issues pertinent to voters in the nation's most populous state.
And in this presidential primary, the stakes here are actually high.
Two years ago, frustrated by always being in the shadow of Iowa and New Hampshire, California moved up the state’s presidential primary from June to March, with the goal of strengthening the influence of the state's 20 million registered voters.
"We are one in eight voters in the country," says Kim Alexander, founder and president of the California Voter Foundation. "So we do want California to have a say."