7 candidates qualify for DNC presidential primary debate

Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders arrive for the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20, 2019. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES — The Democratic National Committee announced Friday that seven candidates have qualified to participate in next week’s presidential primary debate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, businessman Tom Steyer, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and businessman Andrew Yang made the cutoff, according to the DNC.

The sixth Democratic presidential debate will take place next Thursday, December 19, at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. PBS NewsHour is partnering with Politico to produce it, and CNN will air the debate live.

The announcement from the DNC comes amid a labor dispute that has threatened to derail the debate at LMU. Every 2020 candidate who qualified for the debate on Friday said they would not participate in the debate if it meant breaking with a labor union and crossing a picket line. UNITE HERE Local 11 has said it will picket the event over a labor dispute involving their union on LMU’s campus.

The DNC said Friday afternoon it is “working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution” that allows the debate to go on without expecting candidates to break with the union.

In order to qualify, Democratic presidential candidates needed to receive 4% in at least four national or early-state polls that met the DNC’s criteria or 6% in two early state polls. Candidates also needed to receive donations from at least 200,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 800 from at least 20 different states. Candidates had until Thursday to meet the fundraising and polling thresholds.

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard both said they hit the fundraising threshold, but neither had the required number of polls to make the stage. Gabbard was one poll away from qualifying but said she would not attend the debate even if she did qualify. Booker did not have any qualifying polls.

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who entered the race after the last debate, had two of the necessary four qualifying polls but did not hit the fundraising threshold. No other candidate besides Bloomberg or Gabbard had any qualifying polls.

The DNC has been raising the thresholds for the contests, slowly shrinking the field of Democrats on the high-profile debate stages. Another six primary debates will be held in 2020.

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