Lead up to Seventh Presidential Primary Debate

Democratic National Committee
December 20, 2019

DNC Announces Details For Seventh Democratic Presidential Primary Debate

The DNC and CNN, in partnership with the Des Moines Register, today released the qualification criteria  for participation in the seventh debate. To qualify for the January debate stage, candidates must demonstrate broad-based support by meeting both a grassroots fundraising requirement and one of two polling requirements. The deadline for qualifying polls and donations is January 10 at 11:59 P.M.
The official threshold rules are below:
To qualify for the January debate, candidates must meet one of two polling requirements (“Polling Threshold”) and the unique donor requirement (“Grassroots Fundraising Threshold”) as detailed below.
Polling Threshold. To meet the Polling Threshold for the January Debate, candidates must meet either the “Four-Poll Threshold” or the “Early State Polling Threshold” as described below:
  • Four-Poll Threshold. Receive 5% or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) meeting the Qualifying Poll Criteria described below.  To meet the Four-Poll Threshold, each one of a candidate’s four qualifying polls must be sponsored by different Qualifying Poll Sponsors, or if by the same Qualifying Poll Sponsor, must be in different geographical areas.
  • Early State Polling Threshold. Receive 7% or more support in two single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada that meet the Qualifying Poll Criteria described below.  To meet the Early State Polling Threshold, any candidate’s two qualifying polls may be in the same or different geographical areas and from the same or different Qualifying Poll Sponsors.
For a poll to be counted towards the Four-Poll Threshold or Early State Polling Threshold, it must meet each of the four requirements described below (“Qualifying Poll Criteria”):
  • Each poll must be sponsored by one of the following 16 entities or pairs of entities (“Qualifying Poll Sponsors”): Associated Press; ABC News/Washington Post; CBS News/YouGov; CNN; Des Moines Register; Fox News; Monmouth University; National Public Radio; NBC News/Wall Street
    Journal; NBC News/Marist; New York Times; Nevada Independent/Mellman Group; Quinnipiac University; University of New Hampshire; USA Today/Suffolk University; Winthrop University. For individual entities that are included only in Qualifying Poll Sponsor pairs but are not listed individually, independent polling by such individual entities or polling conducted in new partnerships with such individual entities shall not meet the Qualifying Poll Criteria.  The DNC reserves the right to add a Nevada-specific poll sponsor to this list in the near future.
  • Each poll must be publicly released between November 14, 2019 and 11:59 P.M. on January 10, 2020.
  • Each poll’s candidate support question must have been conducted by reading or presenting a list of Democratic presidential primary candidates to respondents. Poll questions using an open-ended or un-aided question to gauge presidential primary support will not count.
  • Each polling result must be the top-line number listed in the original public release from the approved Qualifying Poll Sponsor, whether or not it is a rounded or weighted number.
Grassroots Fundraising Threshold. To meet the Grassroots Fundraising Threshold, candidates must submit a certification, executed by the candidate’s campaign Treasurer, by 11 A.M. on January 11, 2019, demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 225,00 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia. Qualifying donations must be received by 11:59 P.M. on January 10, 2020. An acceptable certification must provide or attach adequate verifiable evidence to show that the fundraising threshold has been reached and may include verification from ActBlue or NGP VAN regarding the campaign’s fundraising.

Bennet for America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, December 20, 2019

CONTACT: Shannon Beckham

Bennet Slams DNC’s “Mission Creep” As Party Leaders Further Limit Debate Before Voting Begins

MANCHESTER, NH Michael Bennet released the following statement today, as the DNC announced even higher thresholds for entry into January’s presidential primary debate:

“The DNC’s job is to help elect Democratic candidates up and down the ballot,” Bennet said. “It is not to tell voters who those candidates should be. This mission creep might make Tom Perez’s life a little easier—democracy’s inherent messiness has always been a burden for party bosses—but it does an enormous disservice to voters who want to know all of their options as they make this critical decision. 

“Americans outside of Washington are just tuning into this primary. Instead of punishing them for doing so, Chairman Perez should revise these arbitrary thresholds and give every candidate a full and equal hearing before voting begins.”

This August, Bennet addressed the DNC Summer Meeting in San Francisco, saying, “The DNC’s process is stifling debate at a time when we need it most…. If we wanted to be the party that excluded people, we’d be Republicans.” 

Earlier this week, former New Hampshire Democractic Party Chair Kathy Sullivan wrote
“New Hampshire makes its mind up late. Without a clear leader, very few candidates can be counted out…Good candidates are being kept off the debate stage. Michael Bennet…[has] more experience than a couple of the candidates who have met the criteria. … Let’s make up our own minds about the candidates, rather than relying on debates that exclude some of our Democratic candidates.”

This month, the New Hampshire Democratic State Committee approved a resolution urging the DNC to lift the barriers as to who can qualify for the Democratic Presidential Primary debates.”

As former Iowa Congressman Dave Nagle wrote this fall, “the criteria set up by the chair is not based on ideas but simply on money and name identification. We must do it this way, we are told, because the political pundits in Washington have decided we need a candidate right now. This even though the national convention isn’t until July. No, we don’t, and we shouldn’t.

This week, Walter Shapiro, a reporting veteran of 11 presidential campaigns, wrote, “The major reason to arbitrarily limit the number of candidates on the debate stage is to cater to the networks and their ratings-driven quest for drama...The entire logic behind devoting the entire month of February to opening-gun caucuses and primaries in four small states is to let the voters winnow the field of presidential contenders.”

NHDP Resolution mentioned above:

On behalf of the NHDP state committee, we call upon the DNC to lift the barriers as to whom can qualify for the Democratic Presidential Primary debates. We ask for this important change to be made on the basis of ensuring greater diversity with regard to gender, race, and personal financial resources.

We strongly urge DNC leadership in Washington to revisit the current qualifying requirements in support of providing Democratic voters with greatest opportunity to hear from all our 2020 presidential candidates.

We must be seen as the party of opportunity and fairness for any Democratic candidate desiring to run for public office. It is essential if we want to build turnout for the general election.

Thank you for your consideration of this most important and urgent request.