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DNC announces qualifications for South Carolina Democratic presidential debate hosted by CBS News

Democrats gear up for Nevada & S.C. contests

As of February 23, seven of the eight remaining candidates have qualified for the South Carolina debate.


The Democratic National Committee has announced the qualifications for the 10th 2020 Democratic Party presidential debate in Charleston, South Carolina, on February 25 hosted by CBS News. Similar to the qualifications for the February 19 Nevada debate, candidates seeking to participate will need to meet either a polling or delegate threshold to take part in the event co-hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.

To qualify using the delegate threshold, Democratic presidential hopefuls must have been allocated at least one pledged delegate to the National Democratic Convention from either Iowa, New Hampshire or Nevada. The DNC will base their delegate totals from the February 3 Iowa caucuses on the results reported by the Iowa Democratic Party, the February 11 New Hampshire primary on the results as reported by The Associated Press and the upcoming February 22 Nevada caucuses on the results as reported by the Nevada Democratic Party or AP.

Separately, candidates can also qualify for the debate by meeting a polling threshold. To meet that qualification, presidential hopefuls must reach at least 10% polling in four national or South Carolina polls or at least 12% polling in two South Carolina polls from the list of qualified polling sponsors as outlined by the DNC. Each poll must be released between February 4 and 11:59 p.m. on February 24.

The South Carolina debate takes place just four days before voters head to the polls for the state's Democratic primary. It is also the final Democratic presidential debate scheduled before Super Tuesday, when fourteen states, Americans abroad and American Samoa hold contests March 3.

Based on the pledged delegates awarded from the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have already qualified for the South Carolina debate. More candidates could meet the delegate threshold should they receive delegates from the Nevada caucuses. So far, not enough polls have been released to qualify further candidates using the polling threshold.

Moderators for the debate in Charleston have been announced, including CBS News' Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell.

On Friday, the DNC, in partnership with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus' political arm, CHC Bold, also announced the 11th Democratic presidential debate will take place March 15 in Phoenix, Arizona, two days before the state's primary contest. Qualifications for the 11th debate, co-hosted by CNN and Univision, have not yet been released.

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