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Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates

Stefani Reynolds

White House hopeful Tom Steyer on Friday called for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to expand its criteria for candidates to qualify for the September primary debate.

Steyer, who is one survey away from reaching the DNC’s polling threshold for next month’s debate stage, said the body should expand the number of polls it approves, including one Nevada survey that would make Steyer the 11th candidate to qualify for the next debate.

{mosads}“The polling is clear. In just over six weeks, Tom’s message of breaking the corporate stranglehold in Washington is resonating in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. The American people deserve to hear this message in September, but are being denied by the lack of recent qualifying polls,” Tom Steyer 2020 campaign manager Heather Hargreaves said in a statement.

“Today, we are calling on the DNC to expand their polling criteria to include more qualifying polling, including at least one poll in Nevada before the deadline next week. As a party, we want to ensure the will of the voters is respected,” she said. 

To qualify for next month’s debate, candidates must garner 130,000 unique donors and hit 2 percent support in at least four DNC-approved polls. Steyer has already hit the donor threshold.

“The debate rules have been public for months, and candidates have been given more opportunities and more time to qualify for debates than in previous cycles,” DNC spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement to The Hill in response to Steyer’s request.

Several candidates who have yet to qualify hammered the DNC over the qualifications Friday, saying it was not approving enough polls or that the four-survey floor was too stringent.

“The Gabbard campaign is calling on the DNC to hold true to their promise and make adjustments to the process now to ensure transparency and fairness,” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-Hawaii) campaign said in a statement, noting she has exceeded 2 percent support in 26 national and early state polls but that only two of those are on DNC’s “certified” list. 

Candidates have until Wednesday to qualify for the debate stage. Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang have all hit both thresholds.

Updated at 5:35 p.m.

Tags 2020 Democrats 2020 elections Amy Klobuchar Andrew Yang Bernie Sanders Beto O'Rourke Cory Booker DNC Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Pete Buttigieg Tom Steyer Tulsi Gabbard

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