Steyer, Gabbard to Miss Out on Third Debate

The candidates join de Blasio, Gillibrand, others in missing out after participating in first two

August 28, 2019

With tonight's deadline fast approaching, presidential hopefuls Tom Steyer and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) look unlikely to qualify for next month's third Democratic debate. Both candidates have crossed the donor threshold but fell short of the polling requirement.

Candidates were required to accrue 130,000 individual donors and register at least 2 percent support in four Democratic National Committee-approved national polls. Steyer needed one more poll, and Gabbard needed two.

The two candidates pinned their hopes to two polls released this morning from USA Today and Quinnipiac, but neither received 2 percent in either poll. Barring a surprise, no more DNC-approved polls will be released before the Wednesday night deadline.

Gabbard joins other struggling candidates like New York City mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) who qualified for the first two debates but missed out on the third. Steyer, as a late entrant to the race, has not participated in any debates.

Author Marianne Williamson also crossed the donor threshold but fell three polls short. Gillibrand was the only other candidate to gain a qualifying poll but failed to gain enough donors.

As of Wednesday, 10 candidates will participate in the third debate held on one night, Sept. 12.

Several candidates who failed to qualify blasted the DNC for having overly-stringent requirements for the third debate. Gabbard's campaign claimed she received "2 percent support in 26 national and early state polls, but only two of them are on the DNC's 'certified' list." Montana governor Steve Bullock criticized the donor requirement, and Steyer criticized the polling requirement.

Candidates who miss the third debate will still be able to qualify for the fourth debate in October. They are also able to apply qualifying polls and donors towards the fourth debate threshold, which has the same requirements as the third debate.

Update (08/30/19): A previous version of this article stated that presidential candidate Julian Castro had not qualified for the third Democratic debate.