New criteria announced for New Hampshire debate

The polling window has also shifted since the debate this week in Iowa. Polls must be publicly released between Dec. 13 and Feb. 6, the day before the New Hampshire debate, which is co-sponsored by ABC News, WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., and Apple News. The debate will be held at St. Anslem College, just outside Manchester.

The Iowa Democratic Party is expected to calculate and report how many delegates each candidate has won the night of the caucuses, a DNC official said. Historically, it is rare for more than three candidates to win delegates in Iowa.

The new thresholds are unlikely to winnow the debate stage any further, unless a candidate drops out of the race of their own volition before Feb. 7. All six candidates who participated in the January debate — Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren — have already qualified for the next debate, according to POLITICO’s tracking of public polling and donor information.

Andrew Yang, who for the first time in January failed to qualify for a debate, has already hit the donor threshold and has two of the four polls needed to make it on-stage.

Yang’s campaign was critical of the DNC after he missed the January debate, alluding to tensions still simmering from the 2016 election between Sanders and Hillary Clinton. But Yang himself projected confidence that he’ll return.

“That’s the last debate I’ll miss,” Yang tweeted Wednesday, the morning after the most recent debate. “Missing a debate has destroyed other campaigns. It fuels ours.”

The only other candidate who has a single qualifying poll is former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, but he is unlikely to qualify for the debate. He is not accepting contributions, which closes off the polling and donor route to him, even though he has already cleared the polling threshold.

Bloomberg also isn’t a candidate in Iowa: He’s skipping the four early states and has poured hundreds of millions into the rest of the contests, with a particular focus on the March 3 Super Tuesday states.

Bloomberg missing the January debate — and now expected absence from the Feb. 7 debate — has irked some of his competitors, who have accused him of running an imperial campaign and not engaging with the rest of the field. It even drew a taunt from President Donald Trump, who tweeted the former New York mayor is a “terrible debater” who doesn’t want to be on stage.

“I want to debate, but I don’t qualify because I’ve never taken a penny in contributions from anyone,” Bloomberg shot back. “Not even a ‘very small loan’ of a million dollars.”

There will be two additional debates in February: one on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas and another in Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 25. Details on how to qualify for those debates have not yet been announced. At least two additional debates are expected to be scheduled after February.

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