Next Dem Debate Appears to Be Set at 10 Candidates After Tom Steyer, Tulsi Gabbard Fall Short

The September Democratic debate appears to be set at 10 candidates after a pair of polls released before the Wednesday deadline failed to help any more candidates qualify.

Two new national polls released by USA Today and Quinnipiac University failed to help former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer qualify for the debate, meaning that it will take place on a single night barring any changes.

The Democratic National Committee required candidates to earn donations from at least 130,000 people and reach 2% in at least four qualifying polls.

Steyer needed one more poll to qualify but both polls showed him at less than 1% support. One poll found exactly one respondent who backed Steyer.

Steyer has spent more than $12 million on ads since jumping into the race, more than six times as much as his closest Democratic rival, NBC News reported.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who needed 2% in both polls to qualify for the debate, also only got 1%.

Debate limited to one night:

Unlike previous debates, the ABC News debate in Houston will be limited to just one night and 10 candidates barring any unforeseen changes. If more than 10 candidates had qualified, the debate would be broken up into two nights.

The 10 candidates that qualified are:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Andrew Yang

Polls show Biden with big lead:

While an outlier poll suggested that the race may be tightening, both polls released Wednesday show Biden with a big lead over the field.

The USA Today poll showed Biden at 32 percent, followed by Warren at 14 and Sanders at 12.

The Quinnipiac poll showed Biden at 32 percent, Warren at 19, and Sanders at 15.

No other candidate had double-digit support.


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