Third debate rules could shrink Democratic field by halfJuly 4, 2019
By Nikki Schwab | New York Post
The second round of Democratic primary debates on July 30-31 in Detroit is expected to include just about the same 20 participants — including Mayor de Blasio.
Already, 21 candidates have qualified by one of the two metrics – surpassing 65,000 unique donors or getting 1% in three separate polls.
But the rules for the third debates on Sept. 12-13 could whittle the unwieldy field down by half.
The White House wannabes will need to earn at least 2% in four distinct polls. And they’ll also have to amass 130,000 donors, with 400 of those donors coming from at least 20 states.
Only six candidates look like a sure thing.
Vice President Joe Biden, for instance, already has 256,000 donors at the conclusion of the second reporting quarter, having only been in the race for 66 days.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has more than 400,000 donors since announcing his exploratory committee in January.
Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke have also checked that box, their campaigns say.
Even entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who’s a popular figure online, passed the 130,000-donor mark after last week’s first Democratic debates.
Sen. Cory Booker, who had a strong debate performance last week, was also getting close, with around 110,000 unique donors as of Monday.
Polling that counts toward the September debate stage started on June 28, and candidates will have until Aug. 28 to crack 2% in four polls, which can be national or taken in select early primary states.
Theoretically, that shouldn’t be too hard, except the same candidates, poll after poll, are hogging the top.
In three national polls that came out this week, only nine candidates polled 2% or higher in at least one of the polls.
Those on the cusp include Booker, who got 3% support in polls conducted by CNN and Quinnipiac, as well as Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who hit 2% in CNN and ABC News polls.
Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who had a breakout debate moment last week, got 3% in one poll, from ABC News, while receiving 1% in the others.
That leaves everyone else – including New Yorkers Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and de Blasio – waiting for a breakout moment – or for some candidates to drop out.
For the second round of debates in Detroit, seven hopefuls could vie for the last six spots, including de Blasio, as well as Reps. Eric Swalwell and Tim Ryan, Sen. Michael Bennet, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Rep. John Delaney and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock.
Bullock was cut from the first debate because he didn’t meet the polling threshold. Four additional candidates – Rep. Seth Moulton, Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam, former Sen. Mike Gravel and former Rep. Joe Sestak – were also not included in the first debate and are waiting in the wings.
Hickenlooper’s campaign is in disarray, with Politico reporting Tuesday that top staffers have urged the former Colorado governor to drop out, as he’s amassed only about 13,000 donors.
De Blasio’s campaign isn’t commenting on whether he’s getting close to 65,000 donors, which would virtually lock in a space onstage at the Detroit debate, but Hickenlooper’s bad fortune could get Hizzoner in by default, based on meeting the polling threshold.