DNC Announces Qualifications for South Carolina Democratic Presidential Debate

February 17, 2020 Updated: February 18, 2020

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has announced the qualifications for presidential candidates to take part in the debate on Feb. 25 in Charleston, South Carolina, which will be hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, in partnership with Twitter.

Similar to the qualifications for the Feb. 19 Nevada debate, candidates need to reach 10 percent in four polls approved by the DNC or 12 percent in South Carolina-specific polls, or win at least one delegate to the Democratic National Convention from one of the three preceding early states: Iowa, New Hampshire, or Nevada. The polls must be released between Feb. 4—the day after Iowa’s caucuses—and Feb. 24.

February’s Nevada debate has similar criteria, with the only difference being a shorter polling window and not counting Nevada polls toward qualification, because the debate takes place after some Nevadans would have voted.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have all already qualified for the event, according to Politico.

Those same five candidates are the only ones to have qualified so far for the debate in Nevada on Feb. 19.

The two billionaires in the race, Tom Steyer and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have not met the qualification criteria for either the Nevada or South Carolina debates. The deadline to qualify for Nevada is Feb. 18.

Epoch Times Photo
Tom Steyer (L), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (R) listen as former Vice President Joe Biden (C) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 14, 2020. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

However, Bloomberg, 77, who announced his campaign in November 2019 and is yet to appear on a debate stage, needs just one more poll to qualify for the debate in Nevada, and two more polls for the South Carolina debate.

Last month, the DNC scrapped a donor threshold that had been in place for previous debates; that had kept Bloomberg off the debate stage because he is completely self-funding his campaign.

“Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold,” Adrienne Watson, a DNC spokesperson, said in a statement sent to news outlets. “The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations, and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t.”

Steyer, meanwhile, may struggle to reach the threshold by the Feb. 18 deadline, having only reached 11 percent in a Las Vegas Review-Journal/AARP Nevada poll conducted by WPA Intelligence.

On Feb. 14, the DNC also announced that the 11th Democratic debate after South Carolina will take place on March 15 in Phoenix, and will air on CNN and Univision.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez said the debate will “showcase our Democratic presidential candidates, highlight Trump’s record of broken promises, and make it clear that Democrats are fighting to give Arizonans a better future.”

The South Carolina debate is set to air on CBS from 8 to 10 p.m local time.