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Democratic National Committee removes donor threshold for February presidential debate in Las Vegas

Megan Messerly
Megan Messerly
Election 2020IndyBlog
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Democratic presidential candidates appear on stage with Harry Reid

The Democratic National Committee is expanding the criteria for presidential candidates to qualify for the debate stage in Las Vegas next month.

Although Democratic presidential hopefuls will still be able to qualify for the debate stage by meeting a polling threshold, they will no longer be required to meet a donor threshold, according to new debate qualification criteria released by the Democratic National Committee on Friday. Candidates will also be given the opportunity to automatically qualify for the debate stage by receiving at least one national delegate out of either Iowa’s Feb. 3 caucus or New Hampshire’s Feb. 11 primary, where 41 and 24 delegates are at stake, respectively.

The Las Vegas debate, which will be hosted by NBC News, MSNBC and The Nevada Independent, will be held at the Paris on Feb. 19.

Not only will the move allow those who capture enough support in Iowa or New Hampshire to earn a national delegate to automatically appear on the debate stage, but it also may open a path for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to qualify. Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign, has been unable to meet a previous requirement by the DNC that candidates receive a certain number of unique donations.

To meet the polling threshold, candidates will be required to either receive 10 percent or more support in at least four polls, either national polls or those of Nevada or South Carolina, or receive 12 percent or more support in two single-state polls in South Carolina or Nevada. Polls will be required to be conducted by one of 14 entities and pairs of entities certified by the Democratic National Committee.

Qualifying polls must be publicly released between Jan. 15 and Feb. 18. 

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