Bloomberg says he won’t change donor policy to make debate stage
Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said he is willing to participate in the Democratic presidential debates, but he added that he will not change his policy on self-funding his campaign in order to meet the party’s requirements.
“I want to participate in the debates, I always said I’d like to participate in the debates. But the rules are the rules, and it’s up to the Democratic Party to set those rules,” Bloomberg told reporters after a speech in D.C.
“And if they change them so I could get into the debates I’d be happy,” he added.
The billionaire and former New York City mayor entered the race after the majority of his opponents had already faced off in several debates. He likely will appear in no debates ahead of the Super Tuesday states, the first nominating contests Bloomberg is participating in.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has set a series of requirements that increase in difficulty for candidates to reach in order to make the stage. The next debate will be held on Feb. 7 in New Hampshire, shortly before the state’s first-in-the-nation primary and after the Iowa caucuses.
As Bloomberg rises in the polls, some progressive critics have expressed that the candidate is not facing the same level of scrutiny as his opponents by avoiding the debate stage. Even if Bloomberg reaches the necessary polling requirements, he will likely not make the stage due to the donor threshold.
The candidates must garner donations from 225,000 individual donors.
However, Bloomberg said he will not budge on his decision not to accept a dime from supporters.
“With my wealth it’s obscene to ask somebody else to support my campaign,” Bloomberg said.
“But more importantly I want to make sure everybody understands that a Bloomberg administration is the model of integrity,” he added. “It was for 12 years when I was the mayor. I didn’t take any money … from anybody, not even a dollar, and I’m not going to do it this time, not even a dollar.”
Bloomberg could make the New Hampshire debate stage if he wins at least one delegate in Iowa, but it isn’t likely. The former mayor decided to skip campaigning in the first four states, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, instead focusing his efforts on the Super Tuesday states voting on March 3.
The DNC has continued to defend its debate requirements despite requests from several candidates and former candidates who have argued against the party’s decisions.
A spokesperson for the DNC was not immediately available for comment.
Seven candidates have qualified for the February debate: Andrew Yang, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), former South Bend, Ind, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer.