The Democratic National Committee is increasing the polling and fundraising requirements for presidential candidates to qualify for the campaign's fifth debate in November. The DNC announced its plans for a more arduous qualification process on Monday, saying in a release that the criteria requires candidates to "demonstrate broad-based support by meeting both a grassroots fundraising requirement and a polling requirement."
But the increases are not as steep as the increases from the first and second debates during the summer to the third and fourth debates after Labor Day.
To make the November stage, candidates must have at least 165,000 unique donors across at least 20 states. That's up from 130,000 donors for September and October. Candidates must hit the donor threshold by midnight one week before the November matchup.
Candidates also must hit 3% in at least four national or early state polls — or hit 5% in two early state polls. That's a new polling pathway that DNC officials say is meant to reward candidates who may be generating enthusiasm in key states even if it isn't registering in national polls.
"The new polling pathway provides candidates with the opportunity to qualify for the debate by demonstrating a higher level of early state support through fewer qualifying polls," the DNC said.
In the meantime, candidates still have the opportunity to make the fourth debate stage set to take place Tuesday, October 15 and hosted by CNN and The New York Times. With at least 11 candidates already meeting the threshold for the Ohio debate, the candidates could potentially see two nights of back-to-back sparring.