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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 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 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 TapperOfficials brace for second Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Capital locked down ahead of Biden's inauguration Durbin says he won't whip votes for Trump's second impeachment trial 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 WarrenCancel culture comes for the moderates Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-Mass.) for third place, and at 15 percent support in South Carolina, placing him in second behind former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Drastic measures for drastic times — caregiver need mobile health apps Boycott sham impeachment 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 SandersBoycott sham impeachment Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Sanders: Senate may use budget reconciliation to pass Biden agenda MORE (I-Vt.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Biden signs order to require masks on planes and public transportation Senators vet Buttigieg to run Transportation Department MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Klobuchar says Senate impeachment trial of former official is constitutional: 'We have precedent' MORE (D-Minn.).