DNC raises thresholds again for January debate

Additionally, candidates must receive donations from 225,000 individuals, up from 200,000 for Thursday’s debate, with a minimum of 1,000 donors in at least 20 states.

The qualification deadline is Jan. 10 — four days before the debate, hosted by CNN and The Des Moines Register at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Five candidates have already qualified for the debate, according to POLITICO’s tracking of public polling and donor information: Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Biden, Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren have all previously said they have over 225,000 donors. On Friday morning, a spokesperson for Klobuchar also tweeted that she has qualified for the debate, meaning she has hit that donor mark as well.

Additionally, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has been in the race for about only a month, has already hit the polling threshold. But Bloomberg, whose net worth has been valued at more than $50 billion, isn’t accepting donations and won’t be able to meet the donor threshold for the January debate without them.

Andrew Yang has also publicly said he’s cleared the raised donor threshold. But he has accrued only one of the four required polls to be on stage. Tom Steyer, the last remaining candidate to participate in Thursday’s PBS NewsHour/POLITICO debate, has two of the four polls needed and has not publicly said he’s hit 225,000 donors.

The increased thresholds will likely exclude every candidate who is still in the race but did not participate in the Thursday debate: Michael Bennet, Bloomberg, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick and Marianne Williamson.

Booker and Castro have increasingly been critical of the debate process, after the pair was excluded from the last debate of the year.

Booker’s campaign pressured the DNC to lower, not raise, the thresholds for future debates. Booker, Castro and the seven candidates on stage Thursday all signed a letter urging DNC Chairman Tom Perez to allow for candidates to qualify by hitting either a donor or polling threshold, not both.

At the time, the DNC pushed back against the letter — and the new thresholds confirm that it didn’t consider lowering the bar to be on stage.

Booker said in a fundraising email last week that he had over 234,000 donors, but he is unlikely to clear any polling threshold.

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