Democratic strategist on Sanders debate performance: 'I just think he might've topped out'

Democratic strategist Will Jawando commended Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSirota reacts to report of harassment, doxing by Harris supporters Republicans not immune to the malady that hobbled Democrats The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Republicans lawmakers rebuke Trump on election MORE (I-Vt.) for his strong debate performance on Tuesday night in light of his recent heart attack, but expressed concern over whether the progressive senator would be able to keep up the momentum.

“He was clear on his message — he was concise. Unlike [former] Vice President Biden, he made his point strongly,” Jawando, who is now a council member in Montgomery County, Md., told Hill.TV on Wednesday. 

“I just think he might’ve topped out,” he added.

Jawando said Warren has started to broaden her base of support as she establishes herself as the new front-runner in the crowded Democratic primary race.

“I just don’t know with the way the polls are moving,” he told Hill.TV. “A lot of that movement on the progressive side is going to Warren, so he’s got to sort of stem that tide.”

Jawando comments come amid Warren's continued rise in statewide and national polls in recent months, which had cut into Sanders’ support among progressive voters.

Warren’s front-runner status was especially apparent during Tuesday night’s debate when she became the target of attacks by rivals over her plan for universal health care.

Several second-tier candidates sought to challenge Warren over Medicare for All, and whether taxes would go up under her plan. The Massachusetts senator fended off the attacks, while once again dodging questions over whether her health care plan would include a tax hike for middle class Americans.

Sanders also boasted a strong debate performance.

The veteran democratic socialist showed no signs of a lack of vigor, despite recently undergoing a heart procedure.

He later garnered even more attention off the debate stage after receiving major endorsements from two high-profile progressives. Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar urges Democrats to focus on nonvoters over 'disaffected Trump voters' Omar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Trump attacks Omar for criticizing US: 'How did you do where you came from?' MORE (D-Minn.) and Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOn The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline McCarthy says there will be a peaceful transition if Biden wins Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid MORE (D-N.Y.) have officially thrown their support behind the progressive senator.

—Tess Bonn