Qualifying for the Third Presidential Debate Just Got Harder for 2020 Democrats

May 29, 2019, 5:23 PM UTC

With 23 Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, the Democratic National Committee is upping the threshold for candidates to appear in the third Democratic presidential debate.

The DNC announced Wednesday that ABC News and Univision will host the third debate on September 12, with the possibility of adding a second night on September 13 if enough candidates meet the new threshold.

To appear in the first and second debates in June and July, candidates must poll at at least 1% and have received donations from 65,000 donors with a minimum of 200 in at least 20 states. It will be even more challenging to qualify for the third debate: candidates will need to reach at least 2% in the polls and will need 130,000 individual donors with a minimum of 400 in at least 20 states.

The list of approved pollsters will change for the third debate. Not only will candidates need to hit 2% from four, rather than three, polls, but also Reuters and Las Vegas Review Journal have been removed from the list. The list still includes a range of other pollsters including the Associated Press, the major broadcast networks, New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Quinnipiac University. Only polls published between June 28 and August 28 will count toward qualifying for the September debate.

These added criteria seek to whittle down the number of candidates as the Democratic primary approaches in 2020. Of the 23 announced candidates, 19 have already qualified for the first debate, which will be divided across two nights. The third debate will be capped at a total of 20 candidates, but the new threshold makes it unlikely that that many will qualify.

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