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 SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' 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 TapperCNN's Jake Tapper spars with Trump on Twitter: 'Utter nonsense' Biden says he has not been tested for coronavirus: I've had 'no symptoms' Biden says Democratic convention should not be canceled amid pandemic 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 WarrenHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (D-Mass.) for third place, and at 15 percent support in South Carolina, placing him in second behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Coronavirus pushes GOP's Biden-Burisma probe to back burner 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 SandersWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Poll: Trump, Biden in dead heat in 2020 matchup Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers, state governors talk coronavirus, stimulus package and resources as pandemic rages on MORE (I-Vt.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegReuters poll finds Sanders cutting Biden national lead to single digits Biden says he'll adopt plans from Sanders, Warren Buttigieg guest-hosts for Jimmy Kimmel: 'I've got nothing else going on' MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Hillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging MORE (D-Minn.).