2020 Democrat Delaney asks DNC to explain new debate threshold


John Delaney, the former Maryland congressman running for president, sent a letter to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday asking him to explain the party’s decision to change its qualifications for the third primary debate.

Delaney’s letter came hours after the DNC announced that it would toughen the requirements for candidates to qualify for the presidential primary debates, beginning with the third debate in September.

{mosads}To make the stage for the first two debates, slated for June and July respectively, candidates had to collect campaign contributions from 65,000 unique donors or register at least 1 percent in three qualifying polls.

But the new rules raise the threshold, requiring candidates to find at least 130,000 donors or reach at least 2 percent in three polls. In his letter, Delaney demanded to know how the DNC settled on those new requirements.

“I write to encourage complete transparency as to how the Criteria were determined,” he wrote. “The Criteria are incredibly important in determining our nominee and we can all agree that putting forth the best nominee in 2020 is mission critical for the Democratic party, particularly considering the risk to our democracy and the American people posed by a potential second Trump term.”

Delaney requested that the DNC disclose the process for determining the requirements, as well as who was involved, which advisers were consulted and whether the DNC was “prioritizing certain candidates” by implementing the new criteria.

It also asks Perez to “disclose your rationale as to why the number of donors is a better standard than polling or other standards.”

To be sure, Delaney has already qualified for the first Democratic primary debate, having met the 1 percent polling threshold. However, he has not yet met the donor threshold — most of his campaign funds have come from his personal fortune — and if more than 20 candidates qualify for the first debate, priority will be given to those candidates who have met both the fundraising and polling requirements.

So far, 19 candidates have qualified for the first debate, which will be held in Miami next month.

Delaney, who has been running for president for nearly two years, has rarely broken 2 percent in public polls. That could make it difficult for him to qualify for future Democratic debates this fall.

Delaney isn’t the only candidate who may have a hard time making it into future debates. A handful of presidential hopefuls have warned against the DNC trying to winnow the primary field too early in the cycle.

“To start winnowing the field this early in the process I think isn’t the best way to go about doing it, because you need a chance for the American people to see you,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), another 2020 contender, told Fox News this week. Ryan has met the 1 percent polling threshold to qualify for the first debate.

Tags 2020 election Democratic National Committee Democratic primary John Delaney Tim Ryan Tom Perez

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