Steyer reaches donor threshold for fall Democratic debates

Steyer reaches donor threshold for fall Democratic debates
© Greg Nash

Tom SteyerTom SteyerBiden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights New voters surge to the polls MORE, the billionaire philanthropist and activist, has reached the required number of donors needed to qualify for the third and fourth Democratic presidential debates this fall, his campaign said on Tuesday.

Steyer gained more than 48,000 donors in the past week alone, his campaign said, giving him the boost he needed to hit the 130,000 donor mark ahead of the Aug. 28 deadline to qualify for the fall debates.


“Since entering the race five weeks ago, our priority has been getting Tom’s message out to the American people,” Heather Hargreaves, his campaign manager, said. “Tom reaching this milestone just five weeks into his campaign is proof that his message is resonating with people across the country.”

To qualify for the fall debates, candidates have to amass the support of at least 130,000 donors and register at least 2 percent in four surveys from Democratic National Committee-approved pollsters.

Steyer has already notched 2 percent in three qualifying polls, putting him a single survey away from making the debate stage next month.

So far, nine candidates have met both requirements for the debates: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Senate approves two energy regulators, completing panel Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Overnight Defense: Defense bill among Congress's year-end scramble | Iranian scientist's assassination adds hurdles to Biden's plan on nuclear deal | Navy scrapping USS Bonhomme Richard after fire Biden faces new Iran challenges after nuclear scientist killed MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Warren, Brown voice support for controversial Biden budget office pick Biden's economic team gets mixed reviews from Senate Republicans MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisWho will replace Harris in Senate? 'Rising' discusses Wisconsin formally declares Biden won election following recount Moderate Democrats: Everyone's older siblings MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerBiden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate Policy center calls for new lawmakers to make diverse hires Dangerously fast slaughter speeds are putting animals, people at greater risk during COVID-19 crisis MORE (D-N.J.), Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Minn.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangGroups seek to get Black vote out for Democrats in Georgia runoffs Media and Hollywood should stop their marching-to-Georgia talk Andrew Yang: Democrats need to adopt message that government is 'working for them' MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year 'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' MORE.

Two other candidates — former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardSix people whose election wins made history Next Congress expected to have record diversity Native Americans elected to Congress in record numbers this year MORE (D-Hawaii) — have so far met only the donor threshold. Castro needs to register 2 percent in one more poll to qualify, while Gabbard needs three more polls to hit that threshold. 

The third round of debates will be held in Houston on Sept. 12 and 13. If more than 10 candidates qualify for the September round, they will be split into two groups with each group debating on one of the two nights.

Steyer launched his campaign a little more than a month ago but was able to amass donor support rapidly by pumping money into an aggressive digital advertising program. 

Since announcing his candidacy, he has spent more than $2.6 million on Facebook and Google ads, according to data compiled by Bully Pulpit Interactive, a Democratic digital firm that is tracking online ad spending in the presidential race. 

Between July 27 and Aug. 3 alone, Steyer’s campaign spent more than $627,000 on Facebook ads mentioning the Democratic debates — more than any other candidate in the race.