Sep 23, 2019

DNC raises qualifying criteria for November debates

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Democratic National Committee on Monday released the qualification criteria for the 5th round of presidential primary debates in November.

The big picture: The required thresholds for both polling and individual donations have again been raised from previous debates in an effort to whittle down the field.

  • A candidate must reach 3% in at least 4 accepted polls or reach 5% in 2 single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada in order to qualify.
  • A candidate must also reach 165,000 unique donors and a minimum of 600 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states.

What they're saying: Some lower-tier campaigns tell Axios they're hopeful about the new thresholds, since 3% in polling seems relatively attainable. Other top-tier candidates consider 3% too low in a field that's still fairly crowded, especially with the Iowa caucuses just 4 months away from the November debates.

  • Some have characterized the thresholds as an overcorrection from the DNC's approach in 2016 — an attempt to be inclusive of all candidates and not just the establishment favorites.

Go deeper: The 2020 candidates who have qualified for the next Democratic debate

Go deeper

All the qualifiers for November's Democratic debate

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The November Democratic primary debates, hosted by MSNBC and the Washington Post, are scheduled to take place in Georgia on Nov. 20. Ten presidential candidates qualified to appear on stage, leaving former HUD Secretary Julián Castro as the notable exception.

How it works: Each candidate needed to hit 3% in at least four accepted polls to qualify, or 5% in two single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada. Candidate were also required to attract 165,000 unique donors and a minimum of 600 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 6, 2019

The 2020 candidates who have qualified for the next Democratic debate

Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. Photos: Scott Olson/Getty Images, Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images, and Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The fourth round of Democratic debates will be held on Oct. 15 in Westerville, Ohio, with 12 candidates onstage, making it the biggest single-night debate to date. 

How it works: This debate had the same requirements as September's. Qualifying candidates must have reached 2% in 4 DNC-approved polls and drawn 130,000 unique donors — including 400 donors in 20 different states. Oct. 1 was the final day to make the cut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 2, 2019

CNN's October Democratic debate will take place on 1 night

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

October's Democratic primary debates hosted by CNN and the New York Times will be take place on a single night — Oct. 15 — with 12 candidates on stage.

Why it matters: Even as lower-tier candidates have been racing to reach the Democratic National Committee's higher qualification requirements, the crowded stage will further limit the field's ability to stand out. September's debate, which had 10 candidates on stage over 3 hours, only saw 2 candidates, frontrunners Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, get more than 15 minutes of speaking time, per the New York Times.

Go deeperArrowSep 27, 2019