Democrats face Wednesday deadline to qualify for 3rd debate

By Daniel Uria
Democratic presidential candidates take the stage in the second round of primary debates at the Fox Theater in Detroit on July 31. Photo by Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidates take the stage in the second round of primary debates at the Fox Theater in Detroit on July 31. Photo by Edward M. PioRoda/CNN | License Photo

Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Wednesday is the final day for Democratic presidential candidates to qualify for the primary debate in Houston next month, and it looks like several won't make the cut.

The Democratic National Committee set even more stringent polling and donor requirements for the next round of debates. As of Wednesday morning, 10 candidates have qualified -- former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.


The party announced the debate will be held over two nights -- Sept. 12 and 13 -- but ABC News, which will broadcast and mediate, said there will be two nights only if more than 10 candidates qualify. If not, the event will be staged Sept. 12.

Candidates are required by the DNC to receive at least 2 percent support in at least four national polls, or polls conducted in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. They also must receive grass-roots fundraising from at least 130,000 total unique donors and have a minimum of 400 unique donors per state in 20 or more states.

The candidates who had not yet qualified are New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, author Marianne Williamson and former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania.

Philanthropist Tom Steyer and U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have met the fundraising goal, but not the polling mandate. Candidates must get 2 percent in four qualifying polls. Steyer needs one more poll to qualify while Gabbard needs two.


Three candidates -- Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts -- have dropped out of the race since the last debate at the end of July, and U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California left before the second debate.

If 11 or more candidates qualify, a selection event will be held Thursday to randomly assigned which candidates will debate on which night.

The party said the candidates who don't make the cut for Houston can still seek to qualify for the fourth round of debates in October, which will use the same qualifications.

Last week, the party declined a resolution to allow candidates to participate in single-issue debates on topics, like climate change, outside of the DNC-approved debates. The decision has been criticized by multiple candidates.

The candidates who qualified for the next debate have been invited to a CNN "town hall" on the climate crisis on Sept. 4.

The first debates were held in Miami in June and the second in Detroit last month.


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