The DNC said that 14 candidates qualified by reaching polling and individual contribution thresholds. They are former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Housing and Urban Development secretary and former onetime San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Julian Castro; Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; Sen. Kamala Harris of California; Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; best-selling spiritual author Marianne Williamson; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Six more candidates will take the stage by reaching the polling criteria. They are Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio; and Rep. Eric Swalwell of California.
Failing to qualify from the historically enormous field of declared Democratic presidential candidates are Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana; Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts; and Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam.
The thresholds for the first two rounds of debates – which will be held on consecutive nights on June 26-27 and in late July – were announced by the DNC in January. They include reaching 1 percent in three polls recognized by the national party committee, or receiving contributions from a minimum 65,000 unique donors as well as 200 unique donors in at least 20 states.
The candidates had until 11 a.m. ET on Thursday to certify with the DNC that they had reached either of the two thresholds.
Bullock’s campaign complained to the DNC that it had reached the polling threshold, but the party committee said one of the surveys the campaign cited didn’t count toward qualifying for the debates.
And the governor – the second to last Democratic White House hopeful to launch a campaign — argued that he’s being penalized for doing his job.
“I chose to enter the Democratic primary later than most. Sure, had I jumped into the race earlier, I may have been able to raise my profile. But I had a job to do. My Legislature meets only once every two years, and I was working to get important legislation passed until mid-May,” Bullock said in an editorial piece.
He said that “as governor, I saw it as my responsibility to remain focused on serving my state. And I got a lot done — including extending our expansion of Medicaid to nearly 100,000 people and freezing college tuition—all with a nearly 60 percent Republican Legislature.”
Moulton downplayed the significance of not making the debate stage.
“I knew that getting in the race so late, there was a strong chance I’d miss the first debate — and yes, I will. But fear not! I’m not losing any sleep over it, and neither should you,” the congressman and Iraq war combat veteran wrote in an email to supporters.
“This race is a marathon, not a sprint. At this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, Jeb Bush was leading in the Republican primary. Ben Carson was in second. And Donald Trump hadn’t even announced his candidacy yet,” he added.
With 20 candidates making the stage, the DNC will hold debates on consecutive nights, with 10 contenders each night.
Still left to be decided – the lineups for the two nights of debates.
Sources tell Fox News that NBC, the DNC’s media partner for the first round of debates, will make that announcement Friday afternoon, after holding a lottery-type event at Rockefeller Center in New York City. Each of the qualifying campaigns is allowed a representative.
NBC will divide the 20 contenders into two groups – those polling at 2 percent or higher – and those under 2 percent. Through a random selection, the upper and lower tier groups will each be split between the two nights of debates.
The divvying up of the upper- and lower-tier candidates is being implemented to avoided the much-criticized format used during the 2016 GOP presidential primaries, when the large field of nearly 20 candidates was divided into two groups, with the higher-polling candidates facing off against each other, and a smaller group of lower- polling candidates placed in what was derided as the “children’s table.”
Which candidates end up on the same debate stage with each other could produce some political fireworks, as Biden, polling as the clear frontrunner, as increasingly come under attack from some of his top rivals – most recently this week by O’Rourke.
But Sanders, the independent senator who’s making his second straight White House run, has also been taking fire as he has preached his brand of Democratic socialism.