The Democratic National Committee announced tougher criteria for presidential candidates to qualify for a third televised debate in September, raising the bar for national attention in a crowded primary field.
To appear on the third debate stage, a candidate must receive donations from 130,000 different donors in at least 20 states with at least 400 donors from each state, the DNC said Wednesday. The candidate must also have at least 2 percent support in four party-approved polls conducted between late June and late August.
The third debate, hosted by ABC News and Univision, is due to take place on Sept. 12. The party body holds out the possibility of a second debate stage the following night if enough candidates meet the new criteria.
The new rules are significantly stricter than the DNC’s requirements for qualifying for the first two debates in June and July. To participate in those contests, candidates must poll at 1 percent or more in three party-approved polls, or received donations 65,000 different donors in at least 20 states.
The first debate is scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Miami. The event is due to take place over two nights to accommodate up to 10 candidates each night. If more than 20 candidates qualify, those with the lowest average polling numbers will not make it.
At present, just eight presidential candidates have reached 2 percent in at least three major polls, according to FiveThirtyEight: Former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas).
DNC Chairman Tom Perez has sought to restore confidence in the party’s stewardship of the debates, announcing 12 debates with clear qualifying criteria. During the 2016 presidential primary, Sanders supporters criticized the DNC for initially scheduling just six debates. They argued that the schedule was designed to prevent Sanders and other lesser-known candidates from getting national airtime.
“At the end of this debate series, I am confident voters are going to be in a much better position to differentiate candidates from another and figure out who their preferred candidate is,” Perez told Vox earlier this month.