The January Democratic debate is coming up shortly and with tighter qualification rules in place, there could be just five candidates standing on stage in Iowa on January 14. The first Democratic primary debate of 2020, held at Drake University, is being co-sponsored by CNN and the Des Moines Register.
CNN/Des Moines Register Democratic Debate (7th Debate)
Date: Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Watch On: CNN
Location: Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa
Sponsors: CNN, Des Moines Register
No specific details on time or moderators have yet been released from CNN.
January Debate Candidates
The January debate stage could be small with just six candidates remaining after the field has been winnowed by DNC rules.
In order to qualify for the January debate, candidates must secure 225,000 unique donors and earn 5% in four DNC-approved national polls or 7% in two DNC-approved early state polls released between November 16 and January 10.
This gives candidates a few more days to make the cut before the stage is set.
Andrew Yang Demands More Polls
Currently hanging on the cusp of qualifying, but lacking several needed polls, Andrew Yang has solicited the Democratic National Committee to sponsor a series of polls in early primary states. Yang’s argument is that private polling firms have basically gone dark over the holiday period in the second half of December which has created a dearth of new polling data. As a result, candidates aren’t being given a fair shake with fresh polling data that could help them earn a debate spot.
As NBC reports, however, the DNC shot down Yang’s request:
The Democratic National Committee on Monday rejected a request from presidential candidate Andrew Yang to commission four early state qualifying polls ahead of the next Democratic debate in Iowa on Jan. 14.
Yang made the proposal in a letter dated Dec. 21 to DNC Chairman Tom Perez, which was obtained Monday by NBC News, in which he argued that a “diverse set of candidates might be absent from the stage in Des Moines for reasons out of anyone’s control.”
“It has been 38 days since a qualifying poll in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Nevada was taken. As you know, big shifts can happen within short periods in this race, as we’ve already witnessed multiple times,” Yang wrote.
Yang then asked for the DNC to commission polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina by Jan. 10.
“It would provide an accurate snapshot of the current state of the race and where voters’ hearts and minds are, thus getting ahead of an imminent problem,” he said.
The DNC doesn’t typically conduct public polls, though it does conduct private polls for internal purposes, which are not released. In a statement later Monday, the DNC said it would not sponsor additional polls.
As the NBC story notes, the DNC does conduct polling internally, though it doesn’t make the results public. The rules are the rules, and candidates have been aware of them for months. Yang makes some good points about the lack of new polls, but it’s likely that several more will be released before the Jan. 10th deadline. Whether or not they’ll help him earn a coveted debate spot remains to be seen.
Aside from the first 2020 Democratic primary debate on January 14, there are three more debates already set for February:
Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 – ABC/WMU Democratic Debate
Watch On: ABC
Location: St. Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire
Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 – MSNBC/NBC News Democratic Debate
Watch On: MSNBC and NBC
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada (specific venue not named)
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 – CBS News Democratic Debate
Watch On: CBS
Location: The Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina
The scramble is on as the campaigning intensifies in early January with the Iowa Caucuses coming up soon on February 3.