Gabbard Qualifies for October Debate

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / Getty Images
September 24, 2019

The Democratic debate stage will become more crowded as Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) became the 12th candidate to meet the party's polling and donor thresholds for the October debate after she failed to qualify for last month's contest.

Gabbard hit 2 percent in a Monmouth University poll released Tuesday. She had already reached the 2 percent threshold in two previous DNC-approved polls and pulled in the 130,000 individual donors necessary to make it to the debate stage.

Although she did not appear in the September debate, Gabbard has had an impact on the race. She made headlines during the July debate when she went after Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) for her incarceration record as attorney general of California.

"Senator Harris said she was proud of her record as a prosecutor and that she'll be a prosecutor president but I'm deeply concerned about this record," Gabbard said. "She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana."

Gabbard was referring to an April Washington Free Beacon report on marijuana-related arrests in California during her tenure as the state's top law enforcement officer. Harris dismissed Gabbard's comments, citing the Hawaii congresswoman's poor poll numbers. Harris received 3 percent support in Tuesday's Monmouth poll.

The Democratic National Committee has given candidates until October 1 to qualify for the debate.

Gabbard will join Harris, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), as well as Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juliàn Castro, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, billionaire Tom Steyer, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang on the stage. It is unclear if there will be two nights of debates, according to Politico.