Harris becomes fifth candidate to qualify for December presidential debate

Harris becomes fifth candidate to qualify for December presidential debate
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Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement MORE (D-Calif.) will join at least four other Democratic presidential hopefuls on the debate stage in December after notching 4 percent in a new national poll released Sunday.

To make the December debate, candidates have to amass the support of at least 200,000 unique donors and register 4 percent or more in four qualifying polls or 6 percent in two approved early voting state polls.

Prior to Sunday, Harris had met the donor threshold, but remained one qualifying poll away. That changed, however, after an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Sunday morning showed her at 4 percent, an analysis of donor and polling data shows.

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Ian Sams, a spokesman for Harris’s campaign, confirmed to The Hill that the California senator qualified for the December debate, which is set to take place in Los Angeles on Dec. 19.

So far, four other candidates have qualified for the December debate: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses GOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Following school shooting, Biden speaks out: 'We have to protect these kids' MORE (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Overnight Health Care: Cigarette smoking rates at new low | Spread of vaping illness slowing | Dems in Congress push to block Trump abortion rule Ocasio-Cortez jabs 'plutocratic' late entrants to 2020 field MORE.

The debate qualification is welcome news for Harris, who has struggled in recent months to maintain the momentum she gained after a standout performance in the first Democratic debate in June.

Her campaign announced last week that it would lay off some staff from its headquarters in Baltimore and redeploy others to Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state that Harris is betting on to keep her 2020 ambitions alive.

The December debate could include significantly fewer candidates than other debates this year. 

In addition to the five candidates who have qualified for the event, only two other candidates have met the 200,000-donor threshold set by the Democratic National Committee, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean Klobuchar 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal MORE (D-Minn.) and former tech executive Andrew YangAndrew Yang 2020 Democrats demand action on guns after Santa Clarita shooting Panel devolves over new Russian accusation about Tulsi Yang unveils '21st century approach' to regulating tech MORE. Both still need to meet the polling requirement if they hope to be on the debate stage next month.

Rachel Frazin contributed.