DNC Releases New Thresholds For November Democratic Presidential Primary Debates

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez takes the stage during the first night of the Democratic presidential debate on June 26, 2019 in Miami, Florida.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has released the new thresholds for the fifth Democratic primary debate in November, Politico reports. Just like the September and October debates, candidates must meet two thresholds: polling and donor. However, both limits have been increased to narrow the field, and an additional polling requirement gives candidates an alternative way to meet the polling threshold.

To qualify for the November debate, candidates must hit three percent or more in four DNC-approved polls conducted between September 13 and seven days before the November debate. This increase is a jump from the two percent required for the fall debates, although it doesn’t look to shrink the field very much. In addition, candidates can also meet the polling threshold by hitting five percent in two approved polls conducted in New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, or South Carolina ⁠— all early voting states.

As for donor requirements, candidates must receive donations from 165,000 unique donors with 600 unique donors in 20 different states, territories, or the District of Columbia.

According to a spreadsheet by Politico’s Zach Montellaro, the frontrunners like Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders have hit three percent or more in the three DNC-approved polls released thus far. Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris have also hit 3 percent or more in the polling thresholds thus far, while Cory Booker has hit this mark in two, and Andrew Yang, Beto O’Rourke, and Amy Klobuchar have met the threshold in just one.

Given their RealClearPolitics polling averages, Booker, O’Rourke, and Yang all appear to have a good chance of making the November debate, while Klobuchar has a long way to go. The rest of the candidates do not seem poised to make the debate stage as of now.

Despite the increase in requirements, many campaign’s were expecting the thresholds to be boosted even higher.

Loading...

“The modest threshold increase for the November debate came as a relief to on-the-bubble campaigns that had been preparing for a requirement of up to 260,000 individual donors, which would have forced unpleasant decisions about whether to divert resources from grass-roots organizing to online advertising in search of new donors,” reads a New York Times report.

Regardless, some criticize the requirements and the qualification of billionaire Tom Steyer, who is set to appear in the October debates.

“At this point, there isn’t much left to be said regarding a set of rules that have allowed a billionaire to bankroll his way onto the debate stage, while governors and senators with decades of public service experience have been forced out of the race,” said Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock, who has yet to earn two percent in a qualifying poll.