CNN  — 

The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that there will be no donor threshold for its upcoming Nevada debate, opening the door for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to qualify for his first contest.

The new rules reflect the changing landscape in the Democratic primary and focus more on support in polls and in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two nominating states.

In order to qualify for the February 19 debate, a candidate either needs: 10% in four qualifying national, Nevada or South Carolina polls; or 12% in two qualifying polls from Nevada or South Carolina.

Visit CNN’s Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race

A candidate is also able to qualify if they receive a single delegate from either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary.

The donor threshold, which previously required candidates to receives donations from a certain number of people, have been dropped.

Adrienne Watson, a spokeswoman for the DNC, said the committee opted to end the donor threshold because now that “grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold.”

“The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t,” Watson said.

The Bloomberg campaign celebrated the changes to the DNC rules.

“We are thrilled that voters could soon have the chance to see Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage, hear his vision for the country, and see why he is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country together,” said Kevin Sheekey, Bloomberg’s campaign manager.

Bloomberg, despite rising poll numbers, has failed to qualify for any debate since getting into the race in November because the multi-billionaire is self-funding his presidential campaign and therefore not taking donations.

Bloomberg has yet to qualify for the Nevada debate, but his omnipresence on cable and local television airwaves has helped boost his national poll numbers in recent weeks. A NBC/Wall Street Journal nationwide poll released on Friday found, however, that the former New York Mayor had 9% support, just one percentage point off from the threshold.

A Quinnipiac University poll from this month also found Bloomberg at 8%, in the same pack as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Bloomberg is skipping the first four nominating contests, so it is unlikely that he will receive a delegate from either Iowa or New Hampshire.

But a number of Bloomberg’s rivals and their campaigns slammed the changes.

“To now change the rules in the middle of the game to accommodate Mike Bloomberg, who is trying to buy his way into the Democratic nomination, is wrong,” said Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders. “That’s the definition of a rigged system where the rich can buy their way in.”

Tom Steyer, a fellow billionaire and Democratic candidate, also attacked the change: “Let’s make one thing clear: changing the rules now to accommodate Mike Bloomberg and not changing them in the past to ensure a more diverse debate stage is just plain wrong.”

Businessman Andrew Yang’s campaign, too, criticized the DNC.

“It’s a mistake for ⁦‪@TheDemocrats‬⁩ to change the rules for debates in the middle of this race to yield to a billionaire. We need to respect the grassroots movement leading this party forward,” SY Lee, Yang’s national press secretary, tweeted.

The former New York mayor has spent hundreds of millions on television, digital and radio ads, worrying some opponents who believe he is being unchallenged because he hasn’t been on the debate stage.

Buttigieg seemingly welcomed the news, telling reporters on Friday that he will “leave it to the DNC to set the rules and then we compete under them,” but that he believes “it is important that we have that process where folks have to stand with their competitors and explain why each of us is the best.”

Prior to the DNC’s announcement, Klobuchar had made a similar point.

“I think that instead of just putting your money out there, he’s actually got to be on the stage and be able to go back and forth so that voters can evaluate him,” Klobuchar said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has endorsed Warren in the Democratic primary, has asked the Democratic National Committee to change its debate criteria to ensure Bloomberg’s inclusion if he climbs substantially in the polls.

Dan Kanninen, Bloomberg’s states director, told CNN this week that the mayor is confident he would be able to “handle himself in the debate.”

“Mike Bloomberg is a pretty tough guy himself,” Kanninen said, “and someone who has been mayor of New York … for three terms and knows how to handle himself in the debate.”