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12 Candidates Make October Democratic Debate, as Qualifiers for Fifth Debate Are Raised

September 30, 2019, 7:02 PM UTC

Here’s the scenario: 12 candidates. One stage.

Unless there’s a groundswell of support for the underdogs, Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden will face challengers Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, along with nine other candidates, in the fourth Democratic debate on October 15.

“Pending a final decision after the certification deadline, it is the intention of the DNC and our media partners to hold the October debate over one night,” the Democratic National Committee said in an email to the Democratic candidates’ campaigns on Friday.

The debate will be hosted by CNN and the New York Times at the campus of Otterbein University. Otterbein is a private, liberal arts campus of about 2,500 students in Westerville, Ohio, a city of 36,000 residents about 15 miles north of Columbus.  

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and billionaire activist Tom Steyer from California are the additions to the October debate stage, two more from the 10 candidates who faced off earlier this month.

Maybe California Senator Kamala Harris will exact revenge on Gabbard, who questioned Harris’ prosecutorial record in the second debate, which some political experts say may have sparked Harris’ recent downslide in the polls.

Maybe we’ll see more of a battle between Biden and Warren—or will the focus mostly be on President Donald Trump and the House’s impeachment inquiry?

The fourth debate format has not yet been announced, but here is the list of the candidates, in alphabetical order, scheduled to appear onstage in two weeks: 

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Senator Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro
  • Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
  • California Senator Kamala Harris
  • Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke
  • Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
  • California billionaire and activist Tom Steyer
  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • Tech entrepreneur and businessman Andrew Yang

The other candidates, including Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, and author Marianne Williamson, have until Tuesday to qualify, but it appears unlikely they will meet the threshold of receiving 2% support in four DNC-approved polls and donations from 130,000 unique donors.

Not only are those candidates and four others having trouble getting supporters for the October debate, but their campaigns may also be in jeopardy as the qualifications to participate in the fifth debate in November debate will rise.

The DNC said last week that qualifying candidates must receive 3% in four DNC-approved polls, slightly up from the 2% needed to join in the third and fourth debates.

Candidates can also qualify by getting 5% in two approved polls conducted in early state primaries, including Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina between September 13 and the week before the November debate.

The location of the fifth debate has yet to be announced.

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