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

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

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerEx-USAID employee apologizes, denies sending explosive tweets Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board USAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency 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 John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation 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 Devi HarrisTwitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation Virginia mayor refuses to resign over controversial Biden, 'Aunt Jemima' post Exclusive: Democrats seek to increase racial diversity of pandemic relief oversight board 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 SteyerSteyer endorses reparations bill, commits to working with Jackson Lee Progressive group launches M pro-Biden ad buy targeting young voters The Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches 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 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) and Andrew YangAndrew YangIs this the end of the 'college experience'? Biden campaign to take over 'Supernatural' star's Instagram for interview Hillicon 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 MORE have also hit the fundraising threshold but need a fourth qualifying poll to make the stage.