Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer has qualified for the December Democratic presidential primary debate after amassing the support of more than 200,000 donors, his campaign said Tuesday.
Steyer is the seventh candidate to qualify for the sixth primary debate, which is set to take place in Los Angeles on Dec. 19.
The six other candidates are former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).
Candidates faced the strictest criteria to date to qualify for the December debate.
They must collect contributions from at least 200,000 unique donors and register at least 4 percent support in four polls approved by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) or 6 percent in two early state surveys.
Steyer met the polling threshold last month after notching 5 percent in a survey from Quinnipiac University Poll of likely Democratic primary voters in South Carolina. With his campaign’s announcement on Tuesday that he had surpassed the donor threshold, Steyer appears to have secured his place on the debate stage.
“After terrific performances in the last two debates and a tremendous amount of earned media over the last month, Tom continues his surge in the early state polls which has led to an increased amount of donors over the last few weeks,” Steyer’s campaign manager Heather Hargreaves said in a statement. “His message of ending the corporate takeover of our government and bringing democracy back to the American people continues to resonate with voters as they see him as the best candidate to go up against Trump.”
Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, has faced criticism from some of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, who have accused him of buying his way onto the debate stage by pumping millions of dollars of his personal fortune into advertising.
Steyer has been among the largest spenders on digital advertising. In the past week alone, his campaign spent nearly $1 million on Facebook ads, according to the website’s most recent data.