DNC Announces Qualifying Criteria for February 7 Debate

January 17, 2020

Qualifying criteria for the next candidate debate have been announced by the Democratic National Committee.  The debate will take place February 7, four days before the New Hampshire primary.  Candidates can make the stage by meeting either a Delegate Threshold or what the Committee is calling an Alternate Threshold.

The Delegate Threshold is new and seems pretty straightforward. Candidates that earn one or more of the 41 available pledged delegates in the February 3 Iowa caucuses qualify for the debate.  

The Alternate Threshold is a renaming of the Polling plus Fundraising requirement in place for the most recent debate. These requirements have changed very little.  

Candidates must have at least 225,000 individual donors, with a minimum of 1,000 unique donors from at least 20 states.  This is unchanged from January's requirement, so all six hopefuls on the stage for this past Tuesday's debate have already met this criteria.

Candidates using the Alternate Threshold must also meet a polling requirement. There are two pathways here.  The first requires 5% support in four1 qualifying national or early state polls. Alternately, candidates can see at least 7% support in two qualifying early state polls.  This is also unchanged, with one exception. As the Iowa caucuses will have been completed, the Committee is defining early states as New Hampshire (February 11), Nevada (February 22) and South Carolina (February 29). Polls must be from DNC-accredited pollsters and be released from December 13, 2019 through February 6. 

The February 7 debate will take place at St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. It will air nationally on ABC. Two other debates are scheduled later in the month  Candidates will meet February 19 in Las Vegas, prior to the Nevada caucuses on the 22nd. On the 25th, there will be a debate in Charleston, South Carolina, in advance of that state's February 29 primary.

1 Each of the four polls must be from a different pollster or, if by the same pollster, must be in different geographical areas.

 

 

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