Gabbard qualifies for fourth presidential debate

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardNew poll catapults Buttigieg to frontrunner position in Iowa Deval Patrick: a short runway, but potential to get airborne Saagar Enjeti: Yang's plan to regulate big tech misses the mark MORE (D-Hawaii) became the 12th Democratic presidential candidate to qualify for the party’s October primary debate on Tuesday after a new poll showed her with 2 percent support in New Hampshire.

To qualify for the October debate, candidates have to collect contributions from 130,000 unique donors and register at least 2 percent in four Democratic National Committee-approval polls. Gabbard met the donor benchmark weeks ago but has struggled to notch enough support in a fourth poll to put her over the polling threshold.

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That changed on Tuesday after a Monmouth University poll showed the Hawaii congresswoman with 2 percent support among registered New Hampshire Democrats and unaffiliated voters who are likely to vote in the crucial first-in-the-nation primary on Feb. 11. 

A spokesperson for Gabbard did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment about the qualifying poll. 

Gabbard is the 12th presidential candidate to make the cut for the fourth primary debate, which is slated to be held in Westerville, Ohio, on Oct. 15. Other candidates have until Oct. 1 to qualify for the event.

Only one other candidate, best-selling author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting Williamson announces poverty plan with support for universal basic income, minimum wage Yang seeks donations for 2020 rival Marianne Williamson: 'She has much more to say' MORE, is relatively close to qualifying for the fourth debate. She has already surpassed the 130,000-donor threshold but needs to register at 2 percent or higher in at least three more qualifying polls.

It’s still unclear whether the debate will be held on a single night or split between two nights like the first two debates in June and July.

The DNC has said that it will make that decision after the Oct. 1 deadline. 

After the October debate, qualifying for the debates will be tougher.

The DNC announced on Monday that to make the cut for the fifth debate in November, candidates will have to amass the support for at least 165,000 donors and score 3 percent or higher in four qualifying polls or at least 5 percent in two approved early-state polls.

So far, at least 11 candidates have met the new donor requirement. But the polling threshold presents a more significant challenge. Only five candidates appear to have met that requirement already for the November debates.