Voters may finally get a chance to see a Democratic debate take place on the same stage on the same night, as 10 candidates have qualified for the ABC-sponsored Sept. 12 showdown in Houston.
Democratic presidential candidates have until the end of Wednesday to get at least 2 percent in four qualifying polls as well as have donations from at least 130,000 unique donors.
Polling Threshold. Candidates must receive 2% or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) meeting the following criteria (“Qualifying Poll Criteria”):
- Each poll must be sponsored by an approved organization, which presently includes the following: Associated Press, ABC News, CBS News, CNN, Des Moines Register, Fox News, Monmouth University, NBC News, New York Times, National Public Radio (NPR), Quinnipiac University, University of New Hampshire, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, and Winthrop University. Any candidate’s four qualifying polls must be conducted by different organizations, or if by the same organization, must be in different geographical areas. The DNC and its media partners reserve the right to add a Nevada-specific poll sponsor to this list in the near future.
- For the September debate, each poll must be publicly released between June 28, 2019, and August 28, 2019. Deadlines for qualifying polls ahead of the October debate will be released in the future.
- Each poll’s candidate support question must have been conducted by reading or presenting a list of Democratic presidential primary candidates to respondents. (Poll questions using an open-ended or un-aided question to gauge presidential primary support will not count).
- Each polling result must be the top-line number listed in the original public release from the approved sponsoring organization/institution, whether or not it is a rounded or weighted number.
Grassroots Fundraising Threshold. Candidates must submit a certification, executed by the Presidential candidate’s campaign Treasurer, demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from a minimum of (1) 130,000 unique donors; and (2) 400 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states. For the September debate, qualifying donations must be received by 11:59 P.M. on August 28, 2019. Deadlines for qualifying donations ahead of the October debate will be released in the future. An acceptable certification must provide or attach adequate verifiable evidence to show that the fundraising threshold has been reached and may include verification from ActBlue or NGP VAN regarding the campaign’s fundraising. (DNC)
Those who have qualified include: Former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; Sen. Bernie Sanders; Sen. Cory Booker; Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Housing Secretary Julián Castro; Sen. Kamala Harris; Sen. Amy Klobuchar; Beto O'Rourke; and Andrew Yang.
Tom Steyer, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have gotten at least one qualifying survey. Steyer is only one poll short of making the stage.
Some Democrats have criticized the DNC's criteria.
Gabbard's campaign, for example, said the DNC should “revise their list of debate qualifying polls in light of numerous irregularities in the selection and timing of those polls, to ensure transparency and fairness.” Klobuchar, meanwhile, compared the struggle to make the cut for the debate to the “Game of Thrones."
If more than 10 candidates qualify before the deadline, the second debate will take place on Sept. 13.