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New CNN Poll Qualifies Julián Castro For September Democratic Debate

Former HUD director Julián Castro will appear on stage in the third round of Democratic primary debates on Sept. 12 in Houston. 


Former Housing and Urban Development Director Julián Castro will appear on stage in the third round of Democratic primary debates on Sept. 12 in Houston.

In order to qualify for the Houston debate stage, candidates must meet two criteria: 130,000 unique donors from at least 20 different states and an average 2% support in four different national polls.

Candidates may use any of the following polls to qualify:

  1. Associated Press
  2. ABC News
  3. CBS News
  4. CNN
  5. Des Moines Register
  6. Fox News
  7. Monmouth University
  8. NBC News
  9. New York Times
  10. National Public Radio
  11. Quinnipiac University
  12. University of New Hampshire
  13. Wall Street Journal
  14. USA Today
  15. Washington Post
  16. Winthrop University

Castro had garnered more than 130,000 donors and was averaging 2% in three national polls. On the morning of Aug. 20, Castro reached 2% support in a CNN poll conducted Aug. 15-18.

Castro will be the 10th candidate to join the Houston debate stage. The other qualifying candidates are Joe Biden (29%), Cory Booker (2.2%), Pete Buttigieg (4.6%), Kamala Harris (7.4%), Amy Klobuchar (1.4%), Beto O’Rourke (3.4%), Bernie Sanders (15.4%), Elizabeth Warren (15.8%), and Andrew Yang (2%).

If any other candidates qualify for the September debates prior to the cutoff date of Aug. 28, the event will most likely extend from one night to two. ABC News has made it clear it would prefer only 10 candidates on the stage, but it is willing to turn the debate into a two-night event, extending into Sept. 13.

Of course, many who prefer entertainment to politics are excited that author Marianne Williamson reached the threshold for unique donors on Aug. 20 as well. She is one of five candidates who have only met part of the criteria, however.

The following candidates have met part of the criteria laid out by the Democratic National Committee:

  1. Tom Steyer (130,000 unique donors, met 2% threshold in three national polls)
  2. Tulsi Gabbard (130,000 unique donors, met 2% threshold in two national polls)
  3. Jay Inslee (130,000 unique donors, has not met 2% threshold)
  4. Kirsten Gillibrand (110,000 unique donors — about 20,000 short of DNC requirement — and met 2% threshold in one national poll)
  5. Marianne Williamson (130,000 unique donors, has not met 2% threshold)

The following candidates have met no part of the criteria:

  1. Michael Bennet
  2. Steve Bullock
  3. Bill de Blasio
  4. Wayne Messam
  5. Seth Moulton
  6. Tim Ryan

Many lower-profile candidates are staying in the race, but the criteria for future debates will continue to intensify to shrink the crowded Democratic field.