Michael Bloomberg has qualified to appear in his first Democratic presidential debate — Wednesday night’s, in Las Vegas.
The multi-billionaire former New York City mayor needed to rank high enough in one more poll to make the cut, and he did it in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll released early Tuesday.
Bloomberg, who’s been flooding TV airwaves with hundreds of millions of dollars in ads, has yet to appear in any debates even as he’s risen steadily in polls. And his Democratic rivals have said they’re anxious to challenge him face-to-face about controversial aspects of his record.
To appear on the debate stage at the Paris Theater, candidates have to meet either a delegate or polling threshold, according to the Democratic National Committee.
For the delegate requirement, candidates must have won at least one delegate from either the Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. For the polling threshold, Democratic contenders must clear 10% in at least four national polls approved by the Democratic National Committee or receive 12% in two single-state polls in Nevada or South Carolina.
The qualifications set by the Democratic National Committee for Wednesday’s debate are a departure from previous debate requirements, which demanded that Democrats meet a donor threshold.
The change paved the way for Bloomberg, who’s self-funding his campaign, to land a spot. He’d received at least 10% in three national polls before the latest one — surveys by Fox News, Quinnipiac and Monmouth.
Bloomberg isn’t on the ballot for Saturday’s Nevada caucuses or the upcoming South Carolina primary, the next two early-voting states.
A Bloomberg spokesperson has said that if he qualified, he’d debate.
So far, five of the Democrats still in the race for the nomination appear to have qualified for Wednesday’s debate: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg.