Democratic presidential candidates at risk of missing the September debate will have a longer window to qualify for the one in October.
In an email reviewed by CNN that was sent to a presidential campaign by the Democratic National Committee, the campaign was informed that qualifying polls for the October debate must have been released between June 28 and two weeks prior to the debate.
That polling window means that candidates who qualified for the September debate will automatically qualify for the October contests, and it gives candidates who did not qualify in September additional time to make the next debate stage.
Candidates need to reach 2% in at least four DNC-approved polls and receive campaign contributions from at least 130,00 unique donors, with at least 400 individual donors from 20 states, by August 28 in order to qualify for the third debates. The polling window for the September debate started on June 28.
The third round is currently set for September 12 and 13. The DNC has capped the number of candidates per debate at 10, so if 10 or fewer qualify, just one round will be held on September 12.
Currently, just eight candidates have hit both marks: Former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Three more – businessman Andrew Yang, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro – have hit the fundraising requirement but are still short of the required polls.
Politico first reported on the DNC’s update to the debate qualifications. The DNC did not respond to a request for comment.
The October debate doesn’t yet have a date, but even if it’s scheduled early in the month, the DNC’s update ensures campaigns that miss out on September have crucial extra weeks to get a favorable poll or attract new donors. That’s especially meaningful for candidates who may just need one or two favorable more polls to qualify or for late entrants like billionaire investor Tom Steyer, who joined the race less than a month ago.
But even with the additional time to qualify for October, missing the September debate could be a critical blow to most campaigns.