The Democratic presidential primary debates in Miami should be set after Montana Gov. Steve Bullock failed to register in two polls finalized in the days before Wednesday’s qualifying deadline.
Bullock criticized the Democratic National Committee last week after the DNC explained publicly that it wouldn’t consider a January poll among the polling and fundraising information that will be used to determine which 20 candidates participate in the June 26 and 27 Miami debates. The discounted ABC/Washington Post poll could have given Bullock just enough juice to squeeze into the debates, so the decision not to consider it left him on the outside looking in.
But Bullock still had a shot to make the debates as the 20th and final contestant had he registered in either a Des Moines Register/CNN poll released Sunday or a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday. He received zero percent support in both polls, likely leaving the debate field set and sending California Congressman Eric Swalwell to Miami.
Only a last-minute fundraising surge or an unexpected poll could propel Bullock into the debates, neither of which is likely. Candidates must turn over their fundraising and polling credentials Wednesday to the DNC, which will announce the 20 debating candidates later this week.
In it for sure when the Democrats converge on the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts June 26 and 27 are headliners former vice president Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who railed against the DNC after hacked emails showed in 2016 that the organization was less than neutral in his campaign against Hillary Clinton.
A second tier is comprised of U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, along with South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and former HUD Secretary Julián Castro.
The DNC plans to spread this group — polling above 2 percent — randomly over the two nights with the rest of the field. The draw is expected to be announced by NBC on Friday.
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are among those who will fill out the debate stage, along with author Marianne Williamson and Congressmen John Delaney and Tim Ryan, from Massachusetts and Ohio, respectively. Also in the debates: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Swalwell.