Steyer hits donor threshold for January debate, but still has to meet polling requirement

White House hopeful Tom Steyer hit the donor threshold to qualify for this month’s 2020 Democratic primary debate in Iowa. 

Steyer, a billionaire businessman and philanthropist, reached 225,000 unique donors Friday, meeting the requirement set by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to qualify for the Jan. 14 event; however, he has yet to meet the polling threshold to secure a spot on the Iowa stage. 

“Today’s achievement is a clear reflection of what we are seeing in the early states — voters are responding to Tom’s messages of tackling the climate crisis and building an economy that creates prosperity for all Americans,” said Heather Hargreaves, Steyer’s campaign manager. 


“I want to thank all of our supporters for fighting to make sure Tom is on the debate stage Jan. 14 so voters across this country can hear firsthand how he’ll go toe-to-toe with Trump on the economy and expose him for what he is: a fraud and failure,” she continued.

Besides garnering the necessary donors, 2020 candidates must also reach 5 percent support in at least four DNC-approved polls or at least 7 percent support in two single-state polls focused on Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada.

Steyer has hit 5 percent in two approved polls thus far.

The DNC’s increased thresholds to qualify for the primary debates, which were announced in December, are intended to help winnow a crowded field; however, the body has come under criticism after December’s debate featured a nearly all-white stage, with the sole exception of Asian-American entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who dropped out of the race this week, were both excluded from the debate.

Steyer and Booker have become vocal critics of the DNC and urged it to conduct more polling to give low- and middle-tier candidates a shot at qualifying for the next debate, which will come less than a month before Iowa holds the first nominating contest of the primary cycle.

“In an eventful campaign environment in which support shifts significantly over short periods of time, the lack of polling is poised to yield a field that is unrepresentative of voters’ current support,” Steyer’s campaign said in the statement announcing its donors.

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