Will Booker make an appeal to millennials in the third Democratic debate?

With the 10 highest-polling Democrats running for president set to stand on stage together for the first time, a high-stakes night is ahead for Sen. Cory Booker. The third Democratic presidential debate will take place Thursday at Texas Southern University, a historically black university where Booker may have a leg up on his competitors.

“Cory Booker I’m sure will point out the fact that his parents graduated from an HBCU,” said Dr. Michael O. Adam, Political Science Department Chair at Texas Southern University. “So there’s a lot of opportunity to get some uptick.”

In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa, gun violence is expected to be a topic at the forefront of discussion. TSU junior Patricia Cepeda explained why the issue is especially complicated in Texas.

“Here in Texas we do feel proud that we’re able to protect ourselves with guns, but unfortunately because of these mass shootings I do feel like there’s going to have to be some type of new rules and stuff placed in just to keep a little bit more security around it,” said Cepeda.

Dr. Adams says the candidates should strongly consider where they are debating and speak to issues facing college students and millennials, demographics often overlooked by conventional polling.

The highest polling candidates will be positioned in the middle on the debate stage, with Booker second from left, but all are hoping they’ll be the center of all the buzz, for the right reasons, at the end of the night.