Steyer reaches donor threshold for fall Democratic debates

Steyer reaches donor threshold for fall Democratic debates
© Greg Nash

Tom SteyerTom SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary 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 BidenTrump hits 'radical left,' news media, China in Independence Day address Kaepernick on July Fourth: 'We reject your celebration of white supremacy' Jaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Unhappy voters could deliver political shocks beyond Trump Democratic senator will introduce bill mandating social distancing on flights after flying on packed plane Neil Young opposes use of his music at Trump Mount Rushmore event: 'I stand in solidarity with the Lakota Sioux' MORE (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden chips away at Trump's fundraising advantage Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter The Hill's Morning Report - Trump lays low as approval hits 18-month low MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisJaime Harrison seeks to convince Democrats he can take down Lindsey Graham Senators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Warnock raises almost M in Georgia Senate race in second quarter MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSenators push foreign media to disclose if they are registered as foreign agents Joe Biden must release the results of his cognitive tests — voters need to know GOP senators debate replacing Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a federal holiday MORE (D-N.J.), Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats: A moment in history, use it wisely The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Rep. Rodney Davis says most important thing White House can do on COVID-19 is give consistent messaging; US new cases surpass 50k for first time The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Stagwell President Mark Penn says Trump is losing on fighting the virus; Fauci says U.S. 'going in the wrong direction' in fight against virus MORE (D-Minn.), former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), tech entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangHillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night Clinton, Buttigieg among Democrats set to hold virtual events for Biden MORE and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegDemocratic lawmakers call for expanding, enshrining LGBTQ rights Democrats debate Biden effort to expand map against Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Dems, GOP dig in on police reform ahead of House vote MORE.

Two other candidates — former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process 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.