Twelve Democratic candidates have qualified for the Oct. 15 presidential debate, but the bar to make it to the next debate in November has been set even higher. Fewer than half of those 12 would make it if the cutoff was today.
Tuesday night was the deadline for candidates to reach the thresholds of 130,000 individual donors and 2% in four polls approved by the Democratic National Committee so that they may appear at the October debate in Ohio. The 12 candidates who have qualified are:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Sen. Cory Booker
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro
- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
- Sen. Kamala Harris
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
- Sen. Bernie Sanders
- Billionaire Tom Steyer
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- Former technology executive Andrew Yang
The Democratic National Committee is reportedly leaning toward having all 12 appear on one night rather than splitting it into two, although no official announcement had been made as of early Wednesday morning.
Now, things get even tighter. For the following debate, candidates will need at least 3% support in four national or single-state polls and 5% in two single-state polls. They will also need at least 165,000 unique donors.
According to this tracking spreadsheet by Politico, Biden, Buttigieg, Harris, Sanders and Warren have qualified for the November debate, meeting both the fundraising and polling prerequisites.
Booker, Steyer and Yang are close. They have met the donor thresholds and have qualified in three national polls. Klobuchar and O'Rourke have hurdled the fundraising bar, but have qualified in one national poll. While Castro and Gabbard have received enough donations, they have qualified in none of the approved polls.
None of the other seven remaining candidates have reached either the polling or the donor requirement.
The date and location of the November debate have not been announced, but the DNC says candidates will have until seven days before the debate to meet the polling and donation stipulations. For the previous four debates, the deadline was 14 days before.
Failing to make the October or November debates could make it difficult to continue as candidates see their campaign coffers dry up. Booker recently warned that unless he juiced his fundraising numbers by an additional $1.7 million he'd likely have to drop out. The New Jersey senator announced Tuesday he was "proud" of his team for surpassing the goal while pulling in a total of $6 million for the third quarter of the year.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who has struggled to raise money, is applying for public financing, turning to a fund that is replenished by those who volunteer to chip in $3 from their taxes. He hopes it will supplement his campaign with a $2 million boost, though the FEC board does not currently have enough commissioners to sign off on the request.
Sanders announced Tuesday he raised $25.3 million in the third quarter. Buttigieg and Harris announced they had raised $19.1 million and $11.6 million, respectively. Biden and Warren, the two other front runners, had not announced their third quarter totals as of Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.