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Democrats release new debate qualification thresholds

Analyzing tense moment between Warren & Sanders

The Democratic National Committee on Friday released the qualifications for the Democratic Presidential debate on February 7 in Manchester, New Hampshire ahead of the state's Democratic presidential primary February 11. And instead of just meeting a polling and donor threshold as required for previous debates, candidates now have an alternate way to participate.

Presidential hopefuls seeking to take part in the debate will be able to qualify by meeting a "Delegate Threshold." To do so, they must have been allocated at least one pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention based on the results of the Iowa caucuses on February 3. Those results are determined and reported by the Iowa Democratic Party.

The other way to qualify is to meet polling and donor thresholds similar to the ones used for the January 14, 2020 debate in Des Moines, Iowa. To qualify using this threshold, candidates must meet 5 percent in four national or state polls out of New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada, or 7 percent polling in two state polls from the list of qualified polls.  Polls must be released between December 13, 2019 and 11:59pm Eastern Time on February 6, 2020.

Candidates must also demonstrate that they have received contributions from 225,000 unique donors, including 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 states, U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia. Donations must also be received by 11:59pm Eastern Time on February 6.

Based on these criteria, all six Democratic presidential hopefuls who participated in the most recent debate in Iowa have already qualified for the New Hampshire debate. They include Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer and Elizabeth Warren. 

Mike Bloomberg has met the polling threshold but will not seek donations and is not currently competing in Iowa. Andrew Yang has the required donor threshold and would just need polling or to qualify by receiving a delegate in Iowa. 

The New Hampshire Primary debate will air on ABC in partnership with WMUR-TV and Apple News on February 7. Moderators will be announced at a later date.

The DNC previously also announced Democratic presidential debates in Nevada on February 19 and South Carolina on February 29 ahead of those states' respective democratic presidential contests. Thresholds to qualify for those two debates have not yet been released.

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