Gabbard threatened to skip the one in November but ultimately took the stage.
In a Twitter post late Dec. 9, Gabbard wrote, “For a number of reasons, I have decided not to attend the December 19th ‘debate’ — regardless of whether or not there are qualifying polls.
“I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina,” she said, referring to two early voting states.
For a number of reasons, I have decided not to attend the December 19th “debate” — regardless of whether or not there are qualifying polls. I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) December 10, 2019
Gabbard, 38, has repeatedly criticized the Democratic National Committee (DNC), alleging inconsistent thresholds for qualifying for the debates. In November, Gabbard accused the committee of “being arbitrary and inconsistent” for declining to accept a poll from Suffolk University.
The committee accepts the university as a pollster when paired with USA Today but the poll in question was conducted for the Boston Globe.
“The Boston Globe is the largest newspaper in New Hampshire. The pollster the Globe uses is recognized by the DNC for other media outlets; there is no reason the DNC should not recognize this Boston Globe poll, other than adherence to a subjective, non-transparent process where party elites try to dictate to the primary voters,” Gabbard said in a statement.
The DNC hasn’t responded to Gabbard’s criticism.
The deadline to qualify for the Dec. 19 debate is Dec. 12. Candidates need 200,000 unique donations and four polls of at least 4 percent support or two state-level polls of at least 6 percent.
Gabbard is currently missing one poll from the first threshold and one poll from the second threshold. She met the donation threshold.
Only six candidates have qualified for the debate so far: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), billionaire Tom Steyer, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
Entrepreneur Andrew Yang is the only candidate besides Gabbard to be close to qualifying. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), former Obama administration cabinet secretary Julian Castro, and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) are among those lacking any of the required polls.