Delaney Takes Issue With DNC’s New Debate Qualification Thresholds

May 30, 2019 by Dan McCue
Delaney Takes Issue With DNC’s New Debate Qualification Thresholds

Former Maryland Representative John Delaney has sent a letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, asking him to explain the party’s decision to change the qualifications candidates must meet to appear in the Democrats third presidential primary debate.

On Wednesday, the DNC imposed 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 rules require 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.

In his letter, Delaney said “while I have personal views as to the merits of the criteria, this letter is not about my personal views.

“I write to encourage complete transparency as to how the criteria were determined,” he said. “The criteria are incredibly important in determining our nominee and we can all agree that putting forth the best nominee in 2020 is mission critical for the Democratic party, particularly considering the risk to our democracy and the American people posed by a potential second Trump term.”

Nevertheless, Delaney demanded to know how the party settled on those new requirements.


Among other things, he asked the DNC to disclose the process for determining the requirements, as well as who was involved, which advisers were consulted and whether the party was “prioritizing certain candidates, or attributes of certain candidates” by implementing the new criteria.

He also asks Perez to “disclose your rationale as to why the number of donors is a better standard than polling or other standards.”

The letter, which Delaney distributed to the press and supporters via email on Thursday, concludes by saying, “We can all agree that the American people deserve a full and inclusive debate. We can also all agree that democracy is best served with full transparency.”

Delaney has already qualified for the first Democratic primary debate, having met the 1 percent polling threshold for that event.

However, he has not yet met the donor threshold — most of his campaign funds have come from his personal fortune — and if more than 20 candidates qualify for the first debate, priority will be given to those candidates who have met both the fundraising and polling requirements.

So far, 20 candidates have qualified for the first debate, which will be held in Miami next month and hosted by NBC News.


In a statement provided to Politico, DNC communications director Xochitl Hinojosa defended the party’s new debate qualification rules, calling them “fair, transparent and appropriate for each phase of the primary season.”

“We are confident that the two sets of criteria we have announced thus far achieve those goals,” Hinojosa said.

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