Still recovering from the second round of the Democratic presidential debates? Well, it’s not too early to start looking ahead, as several candidates are begging for support in order to participate in the next round.
So far, only seven candidates have announced that they meet all the requirements to participate based on the Democratic National Committee’s criteria.
Why? The DNC has set more strict criteria for the third series of debates to be held on September 12 and 13 (if necessary) at Texas Southern University, a historically black university, in Houston. If 10 or fewer candidates qualify, the debate will likely be just a one-night affair.
Eligible candidates will need to have 130,000 unique donors and register at least 2% support in four Democratic National Committee-approved polls coming from at least 400 unique donors in 20 or more states.
They have an August 28 deadline to reach those goals.
The new criteria increase the prior 1% polling threshold and a 65,000 donor minimum from the past two rounds, when candidates only had to reach one of those two goals.
The criteria may easily cut the field down in half. While the first two rounds of debates featured 20 of the 24 candidates, up to 12 candidates are likely to make the third round.
So far, among the seven candidates who meet all the requirements are the Democratic frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden, California Senator Kamala Harris, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (who had another strong debate performance on Tuesday), Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (who fought to keep his presidential hopes alive Wednesday night), South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke.
Currently, two other candidates have met just the donor requirement, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro and entrepreneur Andrew Yang (who looked solid during his short time speaking during Wednesday’s debate).
And, one candidate, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, has met just the polling requirement.
Otherwise, there are longshot 15 presidential candidates who have yet to reach either debate requirement.
They include, in alphabetical order, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, and Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (who may have gotten a much-needed boost for her campaign after blasting Harris on her prosecutorial record during Wednesday’s debate).
Rounding out those who also haven’t qualified for the next debate are New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, former Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak, billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer and best-selling author and activist Marianne Williamson (who surprised many with her solid performance during Tuesday’s debate).
With a potentially shorter field, debate watchers may finally get that long-awaited matchup with Elizabeth Warren, who is in second place in most polls, squaring off against Biden and Harris.