Eight candidates set for September Democratic debates with Tulsi Gabbard inching closer – Washington Examiner

This past Tuesday and Wednesday may have been the last time that viewers nationwide saw Marianne Williamson warn of ” dark psychic forces,” John Delaney spar with Bernie Sanders on healthcare, or Kirsten Gillibrand condemn Joe Biden for a decades-old op-ed.

Only eight of the more than 20 Democrats aspiring to be their party’s presidential nominee have qualified for the debate stage in September, and many others are not close to making the cut.

Higher qualification standards are set to slash the number of presidential candidates in the debate set for Sept. 12 and 13 in Houston to around 10.

Candidates must exceed 130,000 individual donors and receive at least 2% support in at least four qualifying primary polls but Aug. 28 to make the September debate, roughly double the standard for the first two rounds: 65,000 donors or 1% support in three polls.

There is a chance that the debate could take place over one night rather than two, but the Democratic National Committee has not clarified what number of qualifying candidates would trigger a second night of debate.

The eight candidates who appear to have qualified for the September debate, hosted by ABC in partnership with Univision, are:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Booker and Klobuchar are the most recent candidates to qualify, with Booker announcing Monday that he reached 130,000 donors and Klobuchar sharing the news on Friday.

Three candidates announced to being close or exceeding 130,000 donors but still need more qualifying polls by Aug. 28:

  • Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro
  • Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is close to 130,000 donors

Castro and Yang each have three of the four needed qualifying polls, while Gabbard has one.

Gabbard’s campaign said in a Thursday tweet that it had 128,403 donors, around 20,000 more than it revealed a few days earlier. A campaign spokesman told the Washington Examiner that she will meet the threshold very soon.

The Yang campaign on Tuesday accused the Democratic National Committee “political establishment” of “stacking the deck against” him.

Yang on Monday had announced that he met the four-poll standard, but the DNC then clarified to presidential campaigns that they could not count both a July 11 NBC/ Wall Street Journal national poll and a July NBC/Survey Monkey national poll toward qualification due to a rule that the four qualifying polls must come from different sponsoring organizations or if by the same organization in different geographies. Yang received 2% in each of the two polls, and his campaign maintains that the DNC should count both polls because the Wall Street Journal is listed as an approved sponsoring organization.

The DNC’s clarification only negatively affected Yang. All other candidates had either more than four other qualifying polls or did not receive 2% or more support in the two polls.

Only two other candidates have any qualifying polls: Tom Steyer, a billionaire investor and advocate for impeaching President Trump and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Steyer, who launched his presidential campaign on July 9 and plans to spend $100 million of his own money on his presidential bid, has two qualifying polls but had not revealed how many donors he has so far. His campaign has been spending $100,000 a day on Facebook ads, most of which ask for a $1 donation to help reach the donor threshold.

While Hickenlooper has one qualifying poll, he appears to be far from reaching the number of donors needed and has faced staff turmoil and turnover in his campaign. The New York Times estimated that he had around 15,000 donors as of June 30, about a ninth of the number he needs for September.

Candidates who have not yet announced reaching 130,000 donors or received any qualifying polls include Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (whose campaign said Thursday it was “just shy” of 100,000 donors), Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, spiritual author Marianne Williamson, and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, who did not appear in either the June or July debates.

Those who miss the mark for the third debate could still qualify for the fourth round in October, which has the same qualification standards as the September debate. Missing out on a debate, however, is considered detrimental to a presidential hopeful’s chances.


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