Sen. Kamala Harris, of California, seems to be entering a do-or-die phase of her struggling presidential campaign. With reports of office closures in New Hampshire and fundraising numbers that continue to dwindle, qualifying for the December Democratic debate may be the best news she’s had in months.

PBS NewsHour/POLITICO Democratic Debate (6th Debate)
Date:
 Thursday, December 19, 2019
Location: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Sponsors: PBS NewsHour, POLITICO

The Democratic debate coming up in December, the sixth debate so far in the process, has a much tighter set of requirements for participation. Up until today, only four candidates were set to make the debate stage. Harris now becomes the fifth name, according to Politico:

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has qualified for the December Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by POLITICO and PBS News. She is the fifth candidate to do so.

She joins Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg as candidates who have made the stage for the December debate. The qualification call is based on POLITICO’s analysis of the publicly released polling and donor numbers, and no candidate’s qualification is official until the Democratic National Committee certifies it after the qualification deadline on Dec. 12.

Harris was in danger of basically being knocked out by default if her fundraising stopped and her debate opportunities disappeared. It’s possible that she could still pull the plug before December, but this chance at another debate at least gives her a reason to continue the fight.

December Debate Candidates

So far, here are the candidates making the cut for December.

NumCandidatePolls AND DonorsDonors Only
1Joe Biden
2Bernie Sanders
3Elizabeth Warren
4Kamala Harris
5Pete Buttigieg
Not Qualified
6Andrew Yang
7Amy Klobuchar
8Cory Booker
9Tom Steyer
10Julian Castro
11Tulsi Gabbard
12Michael Bennet
13Steve Bullock
14John Delaney
15Tim Ryan
16Joe Sestak
17Marianne Williamson

Out of the remaining list currently off the stage, only Andrew Yang and Sen. Amy Klobuchar seem poised to possibly have a shot at making the event. To qualify for the December debate, candidates need to hit at least 4 percent in four DNC-approved polls or 6 percent in two DNC-approved early state polls such as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina. Candidates also need to receive donations from 200,000 unique contributors.

Klobuchar currently has 3 qualifying polls and is in need of only one more to earn a ticket to December. She already has the needed number of donors.

Yang currently sits with no qualifying polls toward December though he has hit the donor threshold.

Harris Closing New Hampshire Offices

In many ways, it looks like Harris was going to be forced the way of Beto O’Rourke with campaign fundraising drying up and poll numbers steadily in decline. Days ago, news broke that she was being forced to close campaign offices in New Hampshire due to cash shortages:

The California Democrat is closing her offices in Nashua, Portsmouth and Keene. Her Manchester headquarters will remain open, but the staff will be scaled back significantly, with only volunteers left to knock on doors and pass out literature.

“Senator Harris and this team set out with one goal — to win the nomination and defeat Donald Trump in 2020. To do so, the campaign has made a strategic decision to realign resources to go all-in on Iowa, resulting in office closures and staff realignments and reductions in New Hampshire,” said Nate Evans, Harris’ New Hampshire spokesman.

That’s a great spin from a campaign spokesman about “strategically” closing campaign offices in the crucial state of New Hampshire, but there is no positive way to draw it. Harris is husting for cash and hurting for enthusiastic supporters.

Harris will be on the debate stage in November and now December, so she has every reason to at least continue with the race and likely stay in as long as it seems possible to compete in Iowa.

If, however, her resources dwindle to the point of being forced to close offices in the all-important Hawkeye State, she’ll be done.