The Democratic National Committee is removing the individual donor requirement previously required for candidates to qualify for the Nevada Democratic debate stage on February 19. This change opens the opportunity for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to appear on the Nevada stage.
According to Politico, in order to participate in the debate, candidates are required to earn 10 percent in four polls between January 15 and February 18, or a minimum of 12 percent in two polls in Nevada or South Carolina. Thus far, the only candidates who have met this threshold are Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Sen. Bernie Sanders
Bloomberg has not yet cleared the polling threshold. According to the latest RealClearPolitics aggregation of polls, Bloomberg is polling at 8.2 percent nationally.
In the first month of his campaign, Bloomberg spent $180 million. Additionally, he spent $286 million in television advertisements.
While members of the left are decrying “oligarchy” for Bloomberg’s potential pathway to the mid-February debate stage, the individual donor threshold has never barred candidates in the 2020 election from making a stage. However, the requirement to hit a certain percentage in at least four national polls is the requirement that barred candidates from the stage.
For example, former 2020 candidate Julián Castro easily hit the donor threshold for the November 2019 debate stage, but was unable to garner support in the polls. This exact situation prohibited Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Castro, and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., from appearing on the December debate stage as well.
“The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organization, and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t,” Adrienne Waston, a DNC spokesperson, told Politico.