The Democratic National Committee’s attempts to winnow the presidential primary debate stage did not succeed in shrinking the number of candidates for the next debate. On Wednesday, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard became the 12th candidate to qualify for the October debate after missing the qualifying threshold for the September round.
The September and October debates standard is much higher than that for debates in June and July, which required either 65,000 donors or 1% support in at least three DNC-approved polls, not both. The increase meant that the September debate stage was cut in half to 10 candidates, down from 20 in the June and July rounds, and one debate night rather than two.
All 10 candidates from the September debate automatically qualified for the October round. But candidates who already passed the donor threshold and were close to meeting the standard, such as billionaire businessman Tom Steyer and Gabbard, could still count their September qualifying polls toward October.