The upcoming Democratic presidential debate could be between just two people onstage, as a new list of rules released Friday might get former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley excluded from the event.
According to the new rules released by NBC News, the network that is hosting the debate taking place in Charleston, South Carolina, each candidate must have an average of 5 percent from the five most recent national polls the network recognizes, or from the polls released by the states of Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina. As of right now, O’Malley does qualify because of his approval numbers in Iowa. But his average could change by the January 14 deadline, and he could be excluded from participating because of it.
While Martin O’Malley might be able to qualify thanks to the polls in Iowa, he’s struggling in the other two states. The Wall Street Journal reports that O’Malley polled at just 2.3 percent in New Hampshire and 2.5 percent in South Carolina.
As the Inquisitr previously reported, a recent Fox News national poll showed that Martin O’Malley is far behind in the race of Democratic presidential candidates. The poll questioned which candidate people would most like to see as the next nominee for the Democratic Party. O’Malley came in last place with just 3 percent of the vote, while his opponents, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, scored a respective 54 percent and 39 percent of the vote.
CNN reports that Martin O’Malley could get some support if he doesn’t meet the required 5 percent threshold. If necessary, the debate could round up from a 4.5 percent, which could give O’Malley just enough of a boost to have him take the stage on January 17.
Martin O’Malley isn’t exactly pleased with the way NBC has been handling the debate. During a campaign rally in Iowa, O’Malley lambasted the network, saying their treatment of the event is equivalent to that of its long-running reality television series, The Apprentice.
“Bad enough that we would be limited to four debates and that they would hide them on Saturdays behind football games. But now they tell us that they can’t really manage perhaps a three way race. Well I’ve got news for them. This election is not up to NBC executives, not up to pollsters, it’s up to you, the people of Iowa.”
Both Sanders and Clinton have come out to show their support for Martin O’Malley, saying that he should be onstage next to them. Sanders showed his support for O’Malley by taking to his personal Twitter page, while Clinton’s press secretary, Brian Sanders, released a brief statement on the situation.
What’s fair is fair. All three of the Democratic candidates for president should be on the debate stage. Period.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 8, 2016
We believe all three candidates should participate in the South Carolina debate, and oppose any criteria that might leave someone excluded
— Brian Fallon (@brianefallon) January 8, 2016
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Chairwoman for the Democratic National Committee, also expressed her opinion on the situation, saying that she thinks Martin O’Malley will not be excluded.
Because of our three great candidates, each #DemDebate has shown our party at its best. I expect to see all of them in Charleston next week
— D Wasserman Schultz (@DWStweets) January 8, 2016
Martin O’Malley is not only struggling with poll numbers, but the candidate has also failed to raise as much money as his opponents. According to the Wall Street Journal, the third quarter saw O’Malley’s campaign donations at less than $1.3 million. Clinton led the way with $30 million, while Sanders came in second, with $26 million.
While his poll numbers might be low now, Martin O’Malley told the Wall Street Journal that he is feeling confident that he will still be able to participate in the debate.
“We’re a strong enough party that we can accommodate a debate with more than two candidates.”
Do you think Martin O’Malley will be excluded from the Democratic presidential debate?
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]