Steyer says 'grassroots organizing' in Nevada, South Carolina got him on debate stage

Steyer says 'grassroots organizing' in Nevada, South Carolina got him on debate stage
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Democratic presidential candidate Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerPoll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire Buttigieg takes dig at Sanders working 'for years' in Washington The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats MORE pointed to his grassroots organizing efforts to explain how he made it onto next week’s debate stage amid accusations that the billionaire philanthropist is buying his way into the event. 

When asked by CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperSteyer says 'grassroots organizing' in Nevada, South Carolina got him on debate stage Pentagon chief says he 'didn't see' intelligence suggesting Iran planned to attack four US embassies Ex-White House press, military officials call on Grisham to restart regular briefings MORE on Sunday whether he thinks it’s his millions of dollars on campaign ads in South Carolina and Nevada that helped him qualify for next week’s debate, Steyer responded by discussing his organizing efforts. 

“I’m a grassroots person,” Steyer said on “State of the Union.” 

“I’ve been a grassroots organizer, as you know for 10 year, and that’s exactly what I'm doing in these early primary states,” he continued. “I’m going, I’m listening to people. I spend all my time in the kinds of meetings that I love, which is taking questions and asking questions and listening and learning.”

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When asked if he’s suggesting it’s his organizing that helped propel him to the top of two recent South Carolina and Nevada polls that solidified his place in next week’s debate, Steyer said “that actually isn’t what I said,” but continued to discuss his organizing efforts. 

“What I said is we have 82 organizers, by far the most in South Carolina,” he said.

He also said that he is not a “famous person” like many of the politicians he’s facing in the primary. He said that he has “very low name recognition,” but said his support increases as voters hear his message. 

Steyer qualified for the debate last week after two Fox News polls showed him at 12 percent support in Nevada, tying Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (D-Mass.) for third place, and at 15 percent support in South Carolina, placing him in second behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hillicon Valley: Biden calls for revoking tech legal shield | DHS chief 'fully expects' Russia to try to interfere in 2020 | Smaller companies testify against Big Tech 'monopoly power' Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' MORE

He qualified just one day before the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) deadline to make the stage. 

At least one of his opponents used it as an opportunity to call out inequality in the system. 

Sen. Cory booker (D-N.J.), who did not make the debate stage, told supporters in a fundraising email last week that the DNC’s debate thresholds “have systematically paved the way for a billionaire to buy his way onto the stage while pushing out candidates of color from participating.” 

Steyer will appear on stage Tuesday along with Biden, Warren, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders over handling of feud with Warren On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans MORE (I-Vt.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial Hill.TV's Krystal Ball on Sanders-Warren feud: 'Don't play to the pundits, play to voters' Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders to headline Iowa event amid impeachment trial On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Sanders defends vote against USMCA | China sees weakest growth in 29 years | Warren praises IRS move on student loans Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE (D-Minn.).