Spiritual Guru Williamson Surpasses Both DNC Debate Thresholds Before Gillibrand

Marianne Williamson / Getty Images
May 23, 2019

Self-help author and spiritual guru Marianne Williamson essentially guaranteed herself a spot at the first Democratic primary debate with a 1 percent showing in a new poll, doing so before experienced politicians like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.).

Democratic candidates who reach 1 percent in at least three Democratic National Committee-approved polls or have 65,000 unique donors—including at least 200 in 20 different states—are eligible for the debate stage June 26 and 27. However, there are only 20 spots for a 24-candidate field and the priority goes to those who accomplish both.

Williamson, having already cracked the donor threshold, reached 1 percent in a new Monmouth survey released Thursday, the third time she hit the low margin in a DNC-approved poll, Politico reported.

She joins former vice president Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.), South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg (D.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), former representative Beto O'Rourke (D., Texas), entrepreneur Andrew Yang, and former Obama official Julian Castro in accomplishing both milestones.

Gillibrand, meanwhile, is one of several high-profile Democrats who hasn't assured herself a spot. She's sent out a series of fundraising emails reminding supporters of her plight. In spite of her focus on women's issues and prominent platform as the U.S. senator from New York, Gillibrand's campaign has not taken flight.

"It does mean that I need to heavily rely on this community to help me hit benchmarks like the DNC's 65,000 individual donor goal to guarantee my spot on the debate stage," she wrote on Tuesday. "I'm working overtime to try to get there so I can talk about our progressive, people-led movement with the rest of the country."

National Republican Senatorial Committee senior adviser Matt Whitlock mocked Gillibrand on Twitter over the Monmouth poll, where she registered less than 1 percent support behind unpopular New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and little-known candidates like Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) and former representative John Delaney (D., Md.).

"Imagine being Kristen Gillibrand. You're a US Senator and even as the narrative becomes 'women rise' you still can't crack the top 15," he wrote.

Other Democrats Williamson beat to the nearly ensured spot on the debate stage include Washington governor Jay Inslee (D.) and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper (D.).

Williamson, a 66-year-old bestselling author, called for a "moral and spiritual awakening in this country" in a campaign speech. She made a failed bid for Congress in 2014, in a district now represented by frequent cable news presence Ted Lieu (D., Calif.).