Updated Jan 9, 2020

Tom Steyer qualifies for January debate

Tom Steyer. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Six candidates have qualified for the seventh Democratic debate, scheduled for Jan. 14, newly including billionaire Tom Steyer as of Thursday.

What's new: Steyer qualified for the debate after an apparent spike in early state polls in South Carolina and Nevada. He tied alongside Sen. Elizabeth Warren for third place in Nevada, with both candidates hitting 12%. In South Carolina, Steyer landed in second place at 15%, but widely trailed behind former Vice President Joe Biden, who led the poll at 36%.

The big picture: The Democratic National Committee raised the bar to qualify for its January debate, requiring candidates to have at least 5% in four qualifying polls or 7% in two early-state polls — as well as 225,000 unique donors.

  • The debate will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, at Drake University — co-hosted by CNN and the Des Moines Register. It will air live on CNN at 9 p.m. ET.
  • CNN's Wolf Blitzer and Abby Phillip will moderate, joined by the Des Moines Register's Brianne Pfannenstiel.

The candidates who have qualified:

  1. Joe Biden
  2. Elizabeth Warren
  3. Bernie Sanders
  4. Pete Buttigieg
  5. Amy Klobuchar
  6. Tom Steyer

Between the lines: Sen. Cory Booker and former candidate Julián Castro (who both failed to qualify for the December debate), have criticized the DNC for its decisions to increase the criteria necessary to make the debates.

  • Only seven of the 15 candidates still in the race qualified for the last debate.
  • On the December debate stage in Los Angeles, businessman Andrew Yang lamented that he was the only non-white person there. "Fewer than 5% of Americans donate to political campaigns. You know what you need to donate to political campaigns? Disposable income," he said.

Worth noting: The unique donor requirement means that Michael Bloomberg won't make it to the January debate stage even if he manages to hit the polling requirements, as he has chosen to entirely self-fund his campaign.

What's next: Candidates have through Friday to qualify.

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Andrew Yang qualifies for February debates

Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The next Democratic debate scheduled for Feb. 7 will fall after the Iowa caucuses, four days before the New Hampshire primary, ABC News reports.

The latest: Andrew Yang on Jan. 26 became the seventh Democrat to qualify for the February debate after polling above 5% in UNH/CNN's New Hampshire survey, his fourth qualifying poll.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 26, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Michael Bloomberg qualifies for Nevada's Democratic debate

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg qualified Tuesday for this week's Democratic debate in Las Vegas after notching 19% in the latest NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll.

Why it matters: The debate on Wednesday in Las Vegas, just before the Nevada caucus, eliminated the requirement that candidates onstage have a specific number of donors. Bloomberg, who has been self-funding his campaign, will face off against his 2020 competitors for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 18, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DNC offers low-tier candidates a shot at qualifying for Feb debate

The seventh Democratic debate on Jan. 14. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The next Democratic debate offers candidates left behind by increasingly difficult Democratic National Committee rules the chance to get back on stage, New York Times' Maggie Astor writes.

Why it matters: The DNC's new rule, which allows candidates to qualify for the Feb. 7 debate by gaining just one pledged delegate from the Iowa caucuses, could land candidates like Andrew Yang back in the mix and, possibly for the first time, Michael Bloomberg.

Go deeperArrowJan 19, 2020