To make it into the next primary debate, Democratic candidates had to collect 130,000 donations (minimum of 400 donors per state in 20 states) and reach 2% support in four qualifying polls.
These conditions had to be met by 11:59 Wednesday.
Only 10 candidates have made the cut: Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julián Castro, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, and Andrew Yang.
That leaves out more than half of the candidates – including Tom Steyer, who has already spent more than $12 million on his campaign. Steyer was confident that he would make the cut earlier this month, having amassed 130,000 donors in just five weeks. But he only managed to hit 2% in three qualifying polls.
To appear in the first two debates, candidates had to reach 1% in four polls and accrue 65,000 donations from 20 states. As the primary field hit 20 and continued to grow, the DNC imposed tighter qualifications for the third debate. The same rules will apply to the fourth debate, giving struggling candidates another chance to appear on stage.
“We’ve said this all along, that in the fall we’re going to raise the threshold because that’s what we always do,” said DNC Chairman Tom Perez. “You can’t win the presidency in the modern era if you can’t build relationships with the grass roots.”
The third primary debate will take place September 12th in Houston, TX.