The Democratic National Committee in February announced new rules for the first two presidential primary debates of the 2020 election cycle, set for June and July. Anticipating a historically large field, the DNC said that a maximum of 20 candidates could qualify for the debates, and that the eventual field for each debate would be divided into two randomized lineups, to debate across two nights.
In announcing the new debate rules, the DNC set two potential qualification requirements for the field:
- Achieve at least 1% support in three polls from an approved list of pollsters
- Receive campaign contributions from 65,000 unique donors, including 200 donors each from 20 different states
In the event that more than 20 candidates met at least one of those thresholds, the DNC said cuts would be made prioritizing candidates who met both thresholds, first based on average performance in qualifying polls, then, if a further tiebreaker is needed, by number of unique donors.
As of June 4, 13 declared candidates say they have hit the 65,000 unique donor threshold, while 20 have hit the polling threshold. Seven candidates have hit the polling threshold without hitting the fundraising threshold.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet hit the polling threshold with CNN’s latest 2020 primary poll, released June 4, becoming the 20th candidate to qualify for the debate and filling (for now) the final spot on the stage for the first two debates.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam are the remaining Democrats who have yet to meet either the polling or fundraising qualification, and should any of them do so, the DNC’s elimination rules kick in.