September democratic debate narrows it down to 10 candidates


Katy Klopfenstein/Iowa State Dai

Podiums for the Democratic presidential debate Nov. 14, 2015, at Drake University.

Jake Webster

Only 10 Democrats have qualified for the next presidential debate — winnowing the field and ensuring there will only be one debate night — Sept. 12.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, businessman Andrew Yang, Sen. Cory Booker, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are the 10 Democratic hopefuls who qualified for the debate.

This will be the first time Iowa caucus polling leaders Biden and Warren are together on stage, and the first time Harris and Warren are on stage together. Warren and Harris have similar voter coalitions — each receiving their strongest support from college educated whites in polling, despite differences in policy.

Sanders and Warren share strong support from student-aged populations, according to polls. In the latest YouGov poll for The Economist, Warren has the support of 23 percent of 18-29-year-old likely voters and Sanders receives the support 19 percent, within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percent.

To qualify for the debate, candidates needed to receive at least 2 percent in four Democratic National Committee (DNC) approved polls, and receive at least 130,000 unique donations from at least 400 unique donors in at least 20 different states. Businessman Tom Steyer and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard both met the donations requirement, but missed the polling criteria by one and two polls, respectively.

Sen. Michael Bennet, Gov. Steve Bullock, Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Rep. John Delaney, Mayor Wayne Messam, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Joe Sestak and author Marianne Williamson all failed to qualify for the debate. 

Several of the candidates who did not qualify for the debate have pushed back against the DNC’s criteria. The Bennet campaign issued a press release calling the qualification criteria “secretive,” and Delaney said the DNC is “kind of like Thanos, snapping their finger and trying to get rid of half the field.”