Democratic Party chief defends debate criteria: 'Candidates have to demonstrate progress'

Democratic Party chief defends debate criteria: 'Candidates have to demonstrate progress'
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Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom PerezThomas PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE said Sunday that the criteria to qualify for the party's next presidential primary debate "quite frankly, is a very reasonable bar."

"It's going to be up to the voters to decide who this candidate is and I think our process has been the most fair, transparent and inclusive process the history of the Democratic primary," Perez said on ABC's "This Week." 
 
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"Our field is deep, but we're reaching a point now when voters are differentiating, and that's what it's about, and candidates have to demonstrate progress as we get closer to Iowa and New Hampshire," he added.
 
Ten candidates will be on stage for Thursday's debate in Houston, Texas, having reached the required 2 percent support in four qualifying polls and 130,000 unique donors. The polling and donor requirements increased from the first two debates, which both had 20 candidates and were split into two nights. 
 
The DNC has faced criticism over its debate criteria, with several lower-polling candidates, such as Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the American Petroleum Institute — PennEast drops pipeline plans despite Supreme Court victory Build Back Better Act must include funding to restore forests, make communities resilient and create jobs Interior reverses Trump, moves BLM headquarters back to DC MORE (D-Colo.) and Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardProgressives breathe sigh of relief after Afghan withdrawal Hillicon Valley: US has made progress on cyber but more needed, report says | Democrat urges changes for 'problematic' crypto language in infrastructure bill | Facebook may be forced to unwind Giphy acquisition YouTube rival Rumble strikes deals with Tulsi Gabbard, Glenn Greenwald MORE (D-Hawaii), arguing that keeping them off the debate stage stifles their voices and only serves to elevate already well-known contenders.
 
 
But Perez said on Sunday that the polling threshold "quite frankly, is a very reasonable bar," and that the DNC communicated the criteria to candidates "well in advance."
 
"As we get to November and December we will continue to raise the bar of participation because that's what we've always done. As we get closer and closer people have to make progress." he said.