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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 seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration 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 TrumpNYT: Rep. Perry played role in alleged Trump plan to oust acting AG Arizona GOP censures top state Republicans McCain, Flake and Ducey Biden and UK prime minister discuss NATO, multilateralism during call 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 HarrisBiden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal An ally in the White House is good for abortion access, but not enough 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 SteyerOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights 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 blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' A vaccine, a Burrito and more: 7 lighter, memorable moments from 2020 Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting MORE (D-Hawaii) and Andrew YangAndrew YangYang to quarantine after campaign staffer tests positive for COVID-19 Andrew Yang sparks Twitter uproar with pro-bodega video Yang announces run for New York City mayor MORE have also hit the fundraising threshold but need a fourth qualifying poll to make the stage.