DNC Raises Bar for Candidates Hoping to Qualify for December Debate

October 25, 2019 by Dan McCue
Democratic National Committee Headquarters. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Democratic National Committee has again revised the threshold for qualifying for upcoming presidential candidate debates, a move that could winnow the onstage participants to just five.

The new participation criteria apply to the DNC’s sixth debate, which will be held in Los Angeles on Dec. 19. It will be hosted by Politico and PBS.

Politico first reported on the new criteria Friday morning.

To make the December debate, candidates must hit 4 percent support in at least four DNC-approved polls of primary voters nationally or in early-voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina).

Alternatively, they can qualify by hitting 6 percent in two approved early-state polls. Candidates must also bring in donations from 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 donors in 20 states, territories or the District of Columbia, Politico reported.

The new thresholds are expected put pressure on Democratic candidates outside a top five — Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris — who have routinely polled above 4 percent in approved surveys.

Though participation in December’s debate will not be set until the DNC certifies that candidates have passed the threshold, Politico reported that based on its tracking, Biden, Warren and Sanders are already shoe-ins.

The qualification deadline is Dec. 12, a week before the debate. Surveys must be released by approved pollsters between Oct. 16 and that date in order to count.

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