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Bloomberg set to debate in Nevada after qualifying in new poll

Democratic presidential contender Michael BloombergMichael Bloomberg'Lucky': How Warren took down Bloomberg Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson vs. Donald Trump: A serious comparison On The Trail: The political perils of Snowmageddon MORE is set to join his fellow candidates on the debate stage Wednesday after he qualified for the forum with the release of a new NPR–PBS NewsHour–Marist poll.

“Mike is looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates on stage and making the case for why he's the best candidate to defeat Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE and unite the country," Bloomberg's campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, said in a statement. "The opportunity to discuss his workable and achievable plans for the challenges facing this country is an important part of the campaign process." 

Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign, did not meet the donor threshold to qualify for the past debates. Instead, he has relied on deploying high-dollar ad buys across the country in an effort to rise in the polls, and the Democratic National Committee in January eliminated the donor requirement to participate in debates. 

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As of Monday, Bloomberg only needed a state or national-level poll showing him over 10 percent to qualify for the forum. The new survey shows Bloomberg trailing only front-runner Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief Murkowski never told White House she would oppose Tanden Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief MORE (I-Vt.), the latest sign that his unconventional campaign strategy is gaining traction. 

The poll shows Bloomberg at 19 percent, while Sanders leads the field with 31 percent support. Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE came in third place with 15 percent support, and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenOvernight Health Care: Biden says US will have enough vaccine for all adults by end of May | Biden calls on all states to vaccinate teachers by the end of March | Texas, Mississippi lift mask mandates Biden picks for financial agencies offer preview of regulatory agenda Becerra tells Warren he will do 'thorough review' of executive actions on drug prices MORE (D-Mass.) trailed in fourth place at 12 percent.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBill introduced to create RBG monument on Capitol Hill Lawmakers offer gun control bill to end 'boyfriend loophole' Juan Williams: Hypocrisy runs riot in GOP MORE (D-Minn.) came in fifth place with 9 percent support, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegHarris pushes for support for cities in coronavirus relief package Exclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden vs. Trump, part II MORE rounded out the top six at 8 percent support. 

Speculation has swirled around whether Bloomberg would join the debate in Nevada if he qualified, despite not being on the ballot in the state. The former New York City mayor will be on the ballot for the Super Tuesday contests on March 3. 

Klobuchar said last week Bloomberg should participate in the forum.  

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"I am also an advocate for him coming on the debate stage. I know that I'm not going to be able to beat him on the airwaves, but I can beat him on the debate stage," she said. 

Sanders, whose campaign was locked in a war of words with Bloomberg's on Monday, said on Saturday, however, that he did not think Bloomberg should debate. 

"That is what being a multibillionaire is about. Some very good friends of mine who were competing in the Democratic nomination — people like Cory Booker of New Jersey, Julián Castro — work really, really hard. Nobody changed the rules to get them in the debate,” Sanders said. 

The NPR–PBS NewsHour–Marist poll was conducted Feb. 13–16 among 1,416 adults. The question of preference for the Democratic nomination was asked to 527 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. The margin of error is 5.4 percentage points.

Updated at 6:51 a.m.