December 8, 2019, 11:04

Here’s everything you need to know about the October debate

Here’s everything you need to know about the October debate

On to the next one: Democrats in the 2020 presidential primary have until the beginning of October to make it into the fourth Democratic debate, which will be held somewhere in Ohio, on October 15.

And possibly on October 16, too.

While the September debate put 10 of the leading Democrats in the 2020 primary on stage together for one three-hour marathon debate, already 11 Democratic candidates have qualified for the October debate, and candidates have even more time to make it in. We still don’t know the broadcast partner.

That might mean the debates will go back to being split between two nights.


The 2020 election calendar

To make it on to the stage in October, Democratic candidates must raise donations from 130,000 people and earn 2 percent support in four polls approved by the Democratic National Convention between June 28 and 11:59 p.m. Eastern on October 1. Last Sunday, San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer became the 11th Democrat to make the fourth debate, after coming one poll short to make it on the stage in September. Two others who didn’t make the stage in September — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Marianne Williamson — two and three polls away, respectively, from making the cut.

The thresholds to make the fourth debate are the same as the September one, but candidates have a little more time to qualify this time. That said, it’s clear that the these rules are already winnowing the field on the national stage.

So far 11 candidates have met the requirements to qualify for the fourth debate

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • California billionaire Tom Steyer
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

Two candidates have met just the donor requirement, but still fall short of the polling threshold:

  • Author and activist Marianne Williamson
  • Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

And there are still 8 candidates that have not met either threshold:

  • Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney
  • Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam
  • Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan
  • Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak

The Democratic field has slimmed in the past month; former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper dropped out and decided he would challenge Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in the Colorado Senate race instead. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) dropped out, as did Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has instead been elevated as Democratic candidates’ climate guru.

Going into Thursday night, candidates like Bennet and Bullock both told the Washington Post that they weren’t deterred by being shut out of the September debate hosted by ABC and Univision. At least one candidate, DeBlasio, has said he will drop out of the running if he can’t qualify for the October round.

The debates serve as an important opportunity for smaller campaigns to get their message out to the rest of the country. But between the three rounds — and five nights — of debates, none of the break out moments have really stuck for lesser-known candidates. Instead, polling shows the Democratic primary increasingly looks like a three-way race between Biden, Warren and Sanders.

Whether the lesser-known candidates will withstand missing out on two debates remains to be seen.


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