The battle of the Democrat money men running for president is playing out in high-roller Las Vegas as billionaire Mike Bloomberg replaces billionaire Tom Steyer on the debate stage Wednesday night.
Steyer did not meet the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) threshold by the Tuesday midnight deadline.
And while voters can cast their ballot for Steyer in Nevada, Bloomberg’s name is not one of the candidates on it.
Steyer, who took part in the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth debates is not happy about the development, Politico reports:
Steyer’s campaign has cried foul at his likely exclusion, arguing that his strength in Nevada and South Carolina is more than sufficient to warrant a spot on stage. Their evidence includes the release of an internal campaign survey on Tuesday showing Steyer at 18 percent in Nevada, trailing only Sanders (24 percent) and Biden (19 percent).
“It just seems pretty frankly disenfranchising to voters in Nevada and South Carolina that their voices aren’t being heard … given there’s been one poll in both states that’s qualifying,” Heather Hargreaves, Steyer’s campaign manager, told Politico. “There’s no opportunity to actually meet the criteria because there’s no polls.”
“Steyer’s team is confident, however, that he will make his return to the debate stage next week, for the South Carolina debate on Feb. 25, given the additional time to qualify and the possibility of winning at least one delegate in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses,” Politico reports, adding that the South Carolina debate has almost identical rules to the Nevada debate.
“I am confident we’ll get a delegate in Nevada, and we’ll be back on the stage in South Carolina,” Hargreaves said.
Aside from Bloomberg, the other Democrats who have qualified for Wednesday’s debate are Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter