New debate rules could limit field of Dem presidential candidates

by | May 30, 2019 | 2020 Elections

While Democrats are still shopping around in the crowded field of 23 candidates for president, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has updated its criteria to qualify for future debates, which will help whittle down the field.

The first round of Democratic debates are in June and July. To qualify candidates have to get at least 1 percent support in three party-sanctioned polls or show that they have attracted 65,000 individual donors.

It’s the criteria for the party’s third and fourth debates in the fall that are new. To participate, candidates will would need to have at least 2 percent support in—not three, but four — party-approved polls between late June and August, and show that they have attracted at least 130,000 individual donors since the start of their campaign, including at least 400 contributors from a minimum of 20 states.

According to FiveThirtyEight, only eight of the total candidates have reached the two percent polling threshold thus far, including Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. Reaching the second contributor criteria –130,000 donors — could be very difficult for the rest of the 15 candidates, including Texan Julian Castro.

DNC Party Chair Tom Perez “welcomes a large field,” suggesting these new debate qualifications are “to give people a fair shake.” That’s fine and all, but the field is too big. Paring down is good. The question is how many more Dems will make the cut?

And will Texas get a presidential debate in 2020?

“With the second largest national convention delegation and as the biggest battleground state, Texas voters are critical to the future of our Party and nation,” Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Manny Garcia told us earlier this month. “We look forward to a Democratic debate in Texas. We remain in ongoing conversations with the Democratic National Committee.”

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