DNC Tightens Requirements to Qualify for 2nd Round of Primary Debates

May 29, 2019 by Dan McCue

The Democratic National Committee is imposing more stringent requirements for candidates to appear in the party’s third presidential primary debate after close to 20 of the Democrat’s 24 candidates qualified to appear in the first two debates.

The new guidelines announced on Wednesday, are likely to significantly trim the field for the third debate, which will be held on September 12, with the possibility of a second session on September 13 if there are enough qualifying candidates to require two stages.

The new rules requires candidates wishing to participate to reach 2% in four approved polls released between June 28 and August 28 while also collecting contributions from a minimum of 130,000 unique donors before August 28.

That donor list must also include a minimum of 400 unique donors in at least 20 states.

The qualifications will remain the same for an October debate, though the party has yet to set a deadline for assessing the candidates’ fundraising and polling.

The ABC television network and Univision will host the September debate, though the debate site still hasn’t been settled.

It will also be available on the ABCNews.com website and apps, as well as Hulu Live, The Roku Channel, and Facebook Watch, among other outlets

Neither the dates nor location is set for October.

Under the new criteria, only eight candidates have reached the 2% polling requirement, according to an assessment by FiveThirtyEight, a data analysis website.

These eight candidates are Vice President Joe Biden; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg; California Senator Kamala Harris; former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas; Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar; New Jersey Senator Cory Booker; and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Of these, only four — Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris and Warren — have announced they reached 130,000 donors.

For many of the rest, meeting the new requirements may be tough sledding.

Cory Booker immediately responded to the new requirements by sending out a fundraising solicitation via email.

It said in part: “It’s no secret that our campaign is an underdog in the race. I’m used to being counted out — we’ve seen it before when I ran for mayor of Newark. And were doubted when we took on big challenges in the Senate. … Can you chip in today to help me qualify for future debates?”

The first Democratic presidential candidate debate, hosted by NBC News, is scheduled to be held on June 26-27 in Miami, Fla. The second set of debates, hosted by CNN, will be held July 30-31 in Detroit, Michigan.

To qualify for those debates, candidates need only to reach a polling threshold of 1% and a fundraising mark of 65,000 donors with a minimum of 200 in at least 20 states.

Last year, Democratic Party Chairman Tom Perez announced that his goals for the Democratic presidential primary debates are to give the grassroots a bigger voice than ever before; showcase our candidates on an array of media platforms; present an opportunity for vigorous discussion about issues, ideas and solutions; and reach as many potential voters as possible.

Perez announced 12 presidential primary debates to be held over the course of the 2020 cycle.

Erin Hill, the executive director of ActBlue, a Democratic online fundraising platform that will verify donations, said in a statement that “candidates who will be prepared to take on Trump in the general should already be working to build programs that can bring in 130,000 donors by the second round of debates.”

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