Fringe Democratic presidential candidate and former Alaskan Sen. Mike Gravel revealed that he has hit the donor requirements for the second round of presidential debates. The accomplishment is notable because Gravel’s campaign is run by manager David Oks and chief of staff Henry Williams, both just 18-years-old, and is solely conducted via Twitter without the traditional process of campaigning the country.
The 89-year-old said that his campaign has received 65,000 unique donors, which The Hill reports is the threshold set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
“I’m grateful to every one of the 65,000 who donated to our campaign, and the thousands more that have followed and supported us,” Gravel said in a statement.
“I will do all I can to ensure their voices not be silenced in this primary.”
But Gravel still has work to do. The DNC debates also require 1 percent or above in three DNC-approved polls. According to Gravel’s campaign, the team is currently in talks with the DNC over the validity of the polling methods. Specifically, they point out that over half the DNC’s polls “methodically and consistently excluded Sen. Gravel despite the campaign’s documented, repeated outreach to both pollsters and the DNC for inclusion.”
The campaign claims that exclusion by the DNC wouldn’t be the end of spreading Gravel’s message, and claim to have a plan for moving forward regardless.
“Our goal in this campaign has always been to shift the conversation, and we will persist in doing so,” they said.
As of now, twenty candidates have met the polling and donor requires for the debate stage later this month. In the case that more than 20 qualify, the DNC will prioritize candidates that have met both thresholds. However, it is still early enough that other Democratic candidates that have qualified may drop out of the race.
Gravel and his campaign took to Periscope on Friday to celebrate and answer questions about the campaign. During the live stream, the campaign team revealed that some other Democratic candidates were sending messages of support and congratulations via Twitter, including the accounts of Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, and Marianne Williamson. During the question period, Gravel supporters pressed for information on what was in Sanders’ DM — reportedly sent by his communications director — although it was never revealed.