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Booker: Primary voters 'being denied' their candidates of choice

Booker: Primary voters 'being denied' their candidates of choice
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats introduce resolution apologizing to LGBT community for government discrimination Zombie Tax punishes farmers to fill DC coffers Rand Paul does not support a national minimum wage increase — and it's important to understand why MORE (D-N.J.) on Thursday delivered an impassioned address about the dwindling number of candidates of color in the Democratic primary, warning that voters were not getting a fair opportunity to choose from a diverse group of candidates while noting there are more billionaires left in the Democratic field “than there are black people.”

"It’s a problem that caucus-goers here in Iowa and in Nevada and voters in South Carolina and New Hampshire are being denied the choices that they are telling us they want in February," Booker said at a campaign event in Iowa.

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Booker noted that Democrats needed a diverse coalition in order to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE

"And this is not just about individual candidates — it’s about the diverse coalition we need to defeat Donald Trump," he said.

Booker has denounced the dwindling number of candidates of color in the Democratic primary, pointing specifically to Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisThe U.S. and Mexico must revamp institutions supporting their joint efforts Harris signals a potential breakthrough in US-Mexico cooperation Watch live: Harris delivers remarks on vaccination efforts MORE's (D-Calif.) recent exit from the race. 

"It’s a damn shame, frankly, that Kamala Harris’s voice is no longer in this race," Booker told BuzzFeed News's AM to DM.

“I’ve seen the bile, the anger, from my family members, to people in the Congressional Black Caucus, to leaders of color across this country who just don’t understand how we’ve gotten to a point now where there’s more billionaires in the 2020 race than there are black people,” he continued.

Six candidates, including billionaire Tom SteyerTom SteyerTop 12 political donors accounted for almost 1 of every 13 dollars raised since 2009: study California Democrats weigh their recall options Why we should be leery of companies entering political fray MORE, have qualified for the December debates, all of whom are white. 

Steyer called on the Democratic National Committee to "open up" its debate requirements this week to allow for a more diverse field. 

"Democrats need to engage voters from every part of the country, and that means making sure voters hear from a diverse group of candidates before they select our nominee," Steyer said in a statement. 

Booker himself has struggled to meet the qualifications to be on the December debate stage. 

The senator needs to reach two Democratic National Committee benchmarks by Dec. 12: Over 200,000 unique campaign donors and four polls showing him with the support of at least 4 percent of voters in order to qualify for the forum.

Booker has hit the fundraising requirements to qualify for the debate, but has yet to hit the polling threshold.

Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard on Chicago mayor's decision to limit media interviews to people of color: 'Anti-white racism' Fox News says network and anchor Leland Vittert have 'parted ways' New co-chairs named for congressional caucus for millennials MORE (D-Hawaii) and Andrew YangAndrew YangYang, Garcia campaign together three days before NYC mayoral primary Adams, Wiley lead field in NYC mayoral primary: poll Republican House campaign arm says it will begin soliciting cryptocurrency donations MORE have also hit the fundraising threshold but need a fourth qualifying poll to make the stage.