How close are O’Rourke and Castro to qualifying for the next debate?


Less than a month remains until the next Democratic debate on Nov. 20. How close are Texas’ two presidential candidates Beto O’Rourke and Julián Castro to qualifying? 

As of Thursday, neither Texan has met the polling threshold. In order to qualify, candidates need four DNC-approved national polls of 3 percent or two approved polls of 5 percent in early-state polls like Iowa or New Hampshire.

O’Rourke is halfway to qualifying with two polls so far showing him at or above 3 percent. Earlier this week, he told CNN he was confident he would qualify, and if he didn’t he would stay in the race anyways: 

Castro is in a worse position. As of Monday, Castro has yet to see any polls that place his candidacy at 3 percent. He is also facing a lack of funds that may end his bid for president. In an email to supporters on Monday, the campaign said it needed $800,000 in 10 days. “Secretary Castro has run a historic campaign that has changed the nature of the 2020 election and pushed the Democratic Party on a number of big ideas,” wrote campaign manager Maya Rupert. “Unfortunately, we do not see a path to victory that doesn’t include making the November debate stage — and without a significant uptick in our fundraising, we cannot make that debate.”

Castro spent $3.9 million this past quarter, spending more money than he raised and leaving him with about $670,000 cash on hand. Based on expenditure reports, that leaves Castro with enough cash on hand to pay the salaries of his staff, but not much else. 

So far, the presidential debates haven’t dramatically altered the top tier of the race, which includes Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. The primetime volleys, however, continue to provide a window into the policies, performances, and mettle of the 2020 contenders, and an opportunity to make the case for President Trump’s impeachment.

The November debate is the second to last of the year. In 2020, another six debates are scheduled. 

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