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 Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (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 Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 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.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg Tom Steyer

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