Gabbard says she may boycott next week's debate

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardJill Stein: 'I am not a Russian spy' Trump criticizes Clinton for suggesting Jill Stein was Russian asset Yang defends Gabbard: She 'deserves much more respect' MORE (D-Hawaii) says she may boycott the Democratic presidential debate next week, accusing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and media of “rigging” the primary contest against outsider candidates such as herself.

Gabbard pointed to what she described as “arbitrary” and nontransparent qualification requirements as evidence party leaders “are trying to hijack the entire election process.”

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The Hawaii Democrat, who has hit the qualification thresholds for Tuesday’s debate in Ohio, said she’d decide in the coming days whether to participate.

“The 2016 Democratic Primary election was rigged by the DNC and their partners in the corporate media against Bernie SandersBernie SandersOcasio-Cortez: Sanders' heart attack was a 'gut check' moment Ocasio-Cortez tweets endorsement of Sanders Ocasio-Cortez throws support to Sanders at Queens rally MORE,” Gabbard said in a statement.

“In this 2020 election, the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election again, but this time against the American people in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.”

Gabbard didn't qualify for the party's debate in September and would miss out on a televised chance to reach millions of voters by skipping the debate. But the threat to boycott the debate also promises to win attention for her campaign. 

Twelve candidates have qualified for next week’s debate, but the DNC has repeatedly raised the thresholds to qualify, keeping four candidates who are still in the race on the sidelines.

To qualify for the October debate, candidates had to collect contributions from 130,000 unique donors and register at least 2 percent in four approval polls.

To qualify for the November debate, candidates must reach 165,000 unique donors and reach 3 percent in four approved polls, potentially shrinking the size of the debate stage further. Only eight candidates have qualified under those thresholds, and Gabbard is not among them.

“They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten,” Gabbard said. “In short, the DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process.”

Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges 'We lost a giant': 2020 Democrats mourn the death of Elijah Cummings Williamson slams DNC, Tuesday's debate: 'This would all be funny if it weren't so dangerous' MORE, a fellow Democratic White House hopeful, tweeted that she has "great respect for Tulsi for saying such an inconvenient truth."

"She is absolutely correct."

Updated at 10:08 a.m.