Record field set for Democratic debate


Screenshot from YouTube

The Democratic presidential debate Sept. 12 was the first to feature all 10 polling leaders on the same stage. The debate Tuesday featured the top 12 polling candidates.

Walker Ochs

Twelve candidates have qualified for the Democratic debate scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Otterbein University in Ohio, which will be broadcasted on CNN.

The number of candidates qualifying has grown from 10 to 12 since the last debate. The two additions are billionaire ex-hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

The Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) qualification criteria for the debate were the same as the third, requiring candidates to have at least 130,000 unique donations from 400 unique donors in at least 20 different states and two percent or more support in four different DNC approved polls.

Steyer is known for his early push to impeach President Donald Trump, his opposition to the Keystone Pipeline and his support of Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Gabbard is an outspoken critic of both the Republican and Democratic Party’s foreign policies. She advocates for “Medicare for All” but has also called for supplemental private insurance. Similarly to Steyer, she spoke against construction of the Keystone Pipeline. There was speculation she would boycott this debate on account of some “rigging” of the debate qualifiers by the DNC, but she announced she would attend on Monday.

Eight of the 12 candidates who qualified for the October debate have already qualified for the fifth debate in November.

All four candidates who have not qualified for the fifth debate have met the required number of donors but have not met the polling criteria. They need to reach three percent support or more in at least four DNC-approved polls or five percent support in two DNC-approved polls of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.

The full list of candidates who will take the stage Thursday are:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren

  • Sen. Kamala Harris

  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg

  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar 

  • Sen. Cory Booker 

  • Julián Castro

  • Andrew Yang

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

  • Tom Steyer

Several candidates will return to Iowa in the days after the debate. Buttigieg will host a town hall at the Iowa State campus Wednesday, followed by Warren on Monday.