DNC sets qualifications for South Carolina debate

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday established the qualifications for candidates to participate in the presidential debate on Feb. 25 in South Carolina. 

To qualify for the debate stage in Charleston later this month, candidates need to reach 10 percent in four polls approved by the DNC or 12 percent in South Carolina-specific polls. The polls must have been released between Feb. 4, the day after Iowa’s caucuses, and Feb. 24.

Candidates can also qualify by winning at least one delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada. 


The debate will take place just days before the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29.

The thresholds for the Charleston debate are nearly identical to those for the Feb. 19 debate in Nevada, with the only differences being a shorter polling window and not counting Nevada-specific polls toward qualifications. 

Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Liberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record MORE, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBiden hopes to pick VP by Aug. 1 It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Here's how Biden can win over the minority vote and the Rust Belt MORE and Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLiberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record Klobuchar on defense as Floyd death puts spotlight on record Officer involved in George Floyd death charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter MORE (D-Minn.), Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe battle of two Cubas Coronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Ro Khanna Democrats gear up to hit GOP senators on DACA MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: Trump ratchets up Twitter turmoil Hillicon Valley: Twitter flags Trump tweet for 'glorifying violence' | Cruz calls for criminal investigation into Twitter over alleged sanctions violations | Senators urge FTC to investigate TikTok child privacy issues Warren condemns 'horrific' Trump tweet on Minneapolis protests, other senators chime in MORE (D-Mass.) have all already qualified for the event. 

The South Carolina debate will be hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, in partnership with Twitter.

The criteria leave the door open for two billionaires, Tom SteyerTom SteyerBloomberg wages war on COVID-19, but will he abandon his war on coal? Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil Ocasio-Cortez, Schiff team up to boost youth voter turnout MORE and former New York City Mayor Michael BloombergMichael BloombergIt's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Liberals embrace super PACs they once shunned .7 billion expected to be spent in 2020 campaign despite coronavirus: report MORE, to make the debate stage. However, neither have qualified for the Nevada debate ahead of the Feb. 18 deadline.


Bloomberg, who has yet to appear on a debate stage after his late entry into the race in November, is one poll away from reaching the threshold for the Nevada debate.

The DNC scrapped a donor threshold for the debates last month. The qualification kept Bloomberg off the debate stage since he is completely self-funding his campaign.

Steyer faces a more uphill battle to reach the threshold by the Tuesday deadline.

The race in South Carolina is expected draw much attention, as the still-crowded primary field seeks to prove their support among African American voters, a key Democratic Party voting bloc that makes up over 60 percent of the state’s primary electorate.