Democratic Debate Watch Party

Students watch the first 2016 Democratic presidential debate, October 13, 2015. A watch party was hosted in Hamilton Hall on Tuesday.

The lifeboat that is the first debate for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary has reached capacity, leaving some candidates to drown in the free media coverage the qualifiers will receive.

Gov. Steve Bullock, D-Mont.; Mayor Wayne Messam, D-Miramar; Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. and former senator Mike Gravel, D-Alaska, all failed to reach one of the two criteria the Democratic National Committee (DNC) set for debate qualification.

The Bullock campaign, however, sent a letter to DNC Chairman Tom Perez insisting Bullock qualified for the debate, ensuring a showdown between the party and one of its potential nominees.

Messam implored people to donate to his campaign in a tweet Wednesday morning, saying "[i]t's not too late" for him to qualify.

The Moulton campaign sent an email to supporters saying the congressman "is not losing any sleep" over not qualifying for the debate.

The Gravel campaign released no debate-specific statements and did not respond to request for comment from the Daily.

In February, the DNC set out its rules for candidates to qualify for one of the 20 podiums on the two debate nights, June 26 and 27 in Miami. Candidates must receive 1% support in three national polls approved by the DNC or 65,000 unique donations from 200 unique donors in at least 20 states.

The candidates who did qualify for the debate stage comprise the most diverse presidential primary field in American history. Among them are six female candidates, five non-white candidates, two candidates of Jewish descent, a Hindu candidate and an openly gay man.

The candidates who qualified are:

  • Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware

  • Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey

  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana 

  • Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julián Castro of Texas

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York

  • Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland

  • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii

  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York

  • Sen. Kamala Harris of California 

  • Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado

  • Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota

  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas

  • Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont

  • Rep. Eric Swalwell of California

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts 

  • Author Marianne Williamson of California

  • Businessman Andrew Yang of New York

Had more than 20 candidates reached one of the qualification criteria, the DNC would have given priority to candidates who had fulfilled both the polling and donor criteria.

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