DNC raises thresholds for January debate

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) raised the qualification requirements for the January primary debate, despite calls from candidates to lower standards.

To qualify for the Jan. 14 debate, candidates need at least 5 percent support in at least four approved polls that can be either national or based in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada. Polls must be sponsored by different entities or be based on different geographical areas if conducted by the same organization and will need to be released between Nov. 14 of this year and Jan. 10, 2020.

Candidates can also meet the polling requirement by receiving at least 7 percent support in two single-state polls in the first four primary or caucus states. 


Candidates will also need 225,000 unique donors and at least 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, territories, or Washington, D.C. 

The criteria has been toughened despite calls from 2020 candidates led by Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.) to lower standards to allow a more diverse slate of candidates to make the debate stage.

The debate held on Thursday night featured almost exclusively white candidates, with businessman Andrew YangAndrew YangGeorge Floyd protests show corporations must support racial and economic equality Andrew Yang discusses his universal basic income pilot program Andrew Yang on the George Floyd protests in Minneapolis MORE the only person of color among the seven participants. It was the smallest gathering out of the six Democratic primary debates so far.

To make Thursday’s debate in Los Angeles, candidates needed to hit at least 4 percent support in four approved polls or 6 percent support in two early-state polls and needed at least 200,000 donors.

Among the candidates who failed to make the stage in California were Booker as well as former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It’s as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 125 lawmakers urge Trump administration to support National Guard troops amid pandemic MORE (D-Hawaii).

The January event will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, and will be hosted by the DNC, CNN and the Des Moines Register.

It will be held just days before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucus that will mark the first time ballots are cast in the Democratic primary race.

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