Cory Booker Reportedly Asks DNC To Change Debate Rules

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker speaks at the Teamsters Vote 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum.
Win McNamee / Getty Images

New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is asking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to change its debate rules, BuzzFeed News reports.

Booker — who has struggled since the beginning of the primary race, polling in single digits, with his campaign gaining almost no traction — did not qualify for the Democratic debate next week in Los Angeles. The candidate fell short of DNC rules, which require White House hopefuls to have at least 200,000 unique donors and receive at least four percent support in four qualifying polls.

On Friday, the day the senator failed to qualify for the debate, his campaign began circulating a letter asking the DNC to lower the threshold for January and February debates. The letter cites a group of 50 members of the New Hampshire Democratic Party central committee who urged the DNC to “lift the barriers.”

“While we know this was an unintended consequence of the DNC’s actions, many of the candidates excluded due to these thresholds are the ones who have helped make this year’s primary field historically diverse,” the letter, obtained by BuzzFeed News, states.

The Booker campaign did not confirm the existence of the letter, nor did it say whether any other presidential candidate signed it.

The DNC is not willing to change the rules to accommodate Booker. In a statement, DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa said that the committee “will not change the threshold for any one candidate,” and that it will maintain “fair criteria” in the future.

Booker has not only struggled in the polls, but he has also struggled with donations. In early December, the senator asked his supporters for help, arguing that it is not fair that billionaires are able to run advertisements, boosting their poll numbers, while others struggle.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polling data, the Democratic primary is a three-way race between former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren.

In recent weeks, Biden and Warren’s poll numbers have gone down, but Sanders has kept surging. Sanders is a top contender in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he is even starting to eat into Biden’s support in the state of South Carolina.

According to experts, Biden is no longer in a good position to win the nomination, because the fact that he is falling behind in Iowa and New Hampshire could further jeopardize his chances in South Carolina.

Sanders appears to be facing different obstacles. According to reports, the Democratic Party establishment is opposed to Sanders’ candidacy, with donors and party leaders determined to thwart his movement. Furthermore, former President Barack Obama is reportedly willing to intervene in the race in order to prevent Sanders from clinching the nomination.