Five Democratic presidential contenders are poised to participate in the next presidential primary debate Wednesday, which marks the final debate before Nevada caucus goers pick their candidates February 22.
To appear on the debate stage at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas, 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 South Carolina or Nevada.
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 paves the way for Michael Bloomberg, who is self-funding his presidential campaign, to debate his Democratic opponents for the first time. The former New York City mayor is on the cusp of qualifying for Wednesday’s debate, since he has received at least 10% in three national polls so far. He has exceeded the 10% threshold in polls conducted by Fox News, Quinnipiac and Monmouth. Bloomberg would need to reach 10% in a separate poll in order to qualify. He is not on the ballot in Nevada or South Carolina, the next two early-voting states.
A spokesperson for the billionaire former New York City mayor has said that if he qualifies, he will debate.
So far, five of the eight Democrats still in the race for the nomination appear to have qualified for Wednesday’s debate:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Senator Amy Klobuchar
- Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders
- Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren
Bloomberg, billionaire investor Tom Steyer and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard have until 11:59 p.m. ET Tuesday to land on the debate stage.
Since the last Democratic debate, which took place in New Hampshire before the February 11 primary, the field of candidates has continued to shrink. Andrew Yang, Deval Patrick and Michael Bennet all ended their campaigns after poor showings in New Hampshire.
Sarah Ewall-Wice contributed to this article.