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- Democratic presidential candidates have to meet certain polling and donation thresholds in order to secure a spot on the debate stage this summer.
- Several candidates have already qualified through polling, a few through donations, and a smaller amount through a combination of both.
- The field could be narrowed by the Democratic National Committee in the event too many candidates qualify.
Rules set forth by the Democratic National Committee have created a threshold for 2020 presidential candidates looking to get a spot on stage at the primary debates later this year.
Candidates must meet one of two different minimums at least two weeks before the first debate, slated for June:
- Receive campaign contributions from at least 65,000 different individuals.
- Achieve 1% in three separate polls from news and polling organizations approved by the DNC.
In the event more than 20 Democrats meet either of the required minimums, the DNC will narrow the field using a combination of the two thresholds.
In a crowded field of candidates, clearing those hurdles is proving to be a lot more difficult than one might think. So far, only a handful of Democrats have been able to crack the required criteria. Candidates have already begun scrambling for donations, including developing new and unique strategies to boost their campaign contributions.
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Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke easily passed the donor threshold within the first 24 hours of his campaign launch, bringing in a fundraising haul of $6.1 million from 128,000 separate contributors, averaging $48 per donation. O’Rourke has also placed above 1% in several polls.
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Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur without experience in elected office, beat the 65,000 donor minimum through a viral online campaign.
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Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has met both the polling and donations requirements to reserve a spot on stage at the debates. Sanders raked in more than $4 million from over 150,000 donors within 10 hours of his campaign launch. He also registers close to the top of nearly every national poll.
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