Tom Steyer’s Star May Be Rising Ahead of September Democrat Debate

Tom Steyer
AP Photo/Richard Drew

The deadline to qualify for the Democrat debate stage in September is just around the corner, and while only ten candidates have met the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) requirements, billionaire Tom Steyer is the closest of the remaining hopefuls to make the grade ahead of the cutoff on Wednesday.

This puts him in front of the other two candidates who may have a shot at qualifying — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY).

CNN reported on the ten candidates who have passed the test — Former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), and Kamala Harris (D-CA); South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro, and Andrew Yang:

There are three others with some hope of making the cut between now and Wednesday night: businessman Tom Steyer, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Of the trio, Steyer is the closest, having already met the 130,000 individual donor threshold and needing only one more poll — in an early state or nationally — that shows him receiving 2 percent support or more. (Candidates need four total polls at 2 percent or higher to qualify.) Gabbard has also met the fundraising criteria but needs two more polls. Gillibrand has one poll with her at 2 percent but remains short of the fundraising floor.

Assuming Gillibrand and Gabbard come up short — which now looks like the most likely outcome — you will have two sitting senators (Gillibrand and Colorado’s Michael Bennet) two House members (Gabbard and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan), a governor (Montana’s Steve Bullock) and the mayor of the country’s biggest city (New York’s de Blasio) all left out of the debate next month.

Some candidates are complaining about the DNC debate thresholds, including Gabbard, ABC News reported: 

The Gabbard team is citing what they describe as several irregularities in the selection and timing of the DNC sponsored polls. The campaign points out “Gabbard has exceeded 2 percent support in 26 polls, but only two of them are on the DNC’s “certified” list.

In a press release, the campaign says many of the uncertified polls, including those conducted by highly reputable organizations such as The Economist and the Boston Globe, are ranked by Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight as more accurate than some DNC “certified” polls.”

Additionally, they have polled at or above 2 percent in two polls sponsored by the two largest newspapers in two different early primary states: The Boston Globe which is the largest circulated paper in New Hampshire and The Post and Courier in South Carolina.

Gabbard is a major in the Army National Guard and has been in Indonesia for a two-week military training program and could not work on her campaign while deployed, ABC News reported.

She returns to the campaign trail today.

The debate will take place on Sept. 12 and 13, the latter date if necessary, in Houston.

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