By MICHAEL CALDERONE and ZACH MONTELLARO
The debate is set for Sept. 12 and could extend to a second night, Sept. 13, if enough candidates meet the threshold to participate. The location and moderators have not yet been announced.
Story Continued Below
Like the first two Democratic presidential debates — which are set for next month on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo and for July on CNN — the September debate and a fourth, to be held in October, will cap participants at 10 per night.
But it will be more difficult for the nearly two dozen 2020 Democratic hopefuls to make the stage.
Unlike the first and second rounds of debates, when candidates must cross either a donor or polling threshold to qualify, candidates will need to surpass both bars to make the stage for the third and fourth debates. For the September event, candidates will have to hit 2 percent in four qualifying polls, versus 1 percent in three polls for the first debates, and they will need 130,000 individual donors, up from 65,000.
Although the polling threshold increase is modest, it could represent a significant barrier for many candidates who have struggled to hit that mark in early polling.
According to a POLITICO analysis, just eight candidates have received more than 2 percent of support in four early polls: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas.
Only polls published between June 28 (the day after the first round of Democratic debates) and Aug. 28 will count toward qualifying for the third debate in September.
Most campaigns have released little information about the number of individual donors they have, besides announcing when they cross the 65,000-donor mark. Sanders, Buttigieg, Harris and Warren have all publicly said they’ve surpassed 130,000 donors.
Other candidates who may have already exceeded that threshold include O’Rourke (who said he had 112,000 unique donors in his first day) and Biden (who had 96,000 donors in his first day).
Erin Hill, the executive director of ActBlue, a Democratic online fundraising platform that will verify donations, said in a statement that “candidates who will be prepared to take on Trump in the general should already be working to build programs that can bring in 130,000 donors by the second round of debates.”