National reports to the contrary, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard says she secured her third qualifying poll on Sunday, leaving her one poll short of making October’s Democratic presidential primary debate.
Gabbard didn’t qualify for the presidential debate tomorrow in Houston, Texas where the top 10 candidates will face one another. However, the criteria for qualifying for the October debates is the same, allowing struggling candidates like Gabbard more time to meet the thresholds.
Gabbard earlier secured the 130,000 donors needed to qualify for the debates. However, she needs 2% or more in four polls approved by the Democratic National Committee.
Gabbard’s campaign put out a press release this afternoon announcing that Gabbard had secured her third qualifying poll, while adding that wasn’t her campaign focus.
Gabbard “emphasized her campaign is not focused on the debates, and is instead spending her time on the ground campaigning, talking to the American people directory – without the ridiculous 60-second time constraints of the debate stage,” according to the press release.
However, The New York Times and FiveThirtyEight both reported that the Washington Post/ABC News poll will not count for Gabbard. In the poll, Gabbard received 1% support among all adult respondents and 2% among registered voters. As FiveThirtyEight explained: “The DNC’s policy is to use a poll’s top-line number, which in this case was the support among all adults, as it appeared first in the survey.” Under that criteria, the poll does not count for Gabbard.
Neither Gabbard’s campaign or the DNC responded to questions seeking to clear up the differing accounts.
In response to Twitter users pointing out that it looked like Gabbard had not met the DNC criteria, Cullen Tiernan, Gabbard’s press assistant tweeted: “Who from the DNC said this? Until the @DNC says they’re to this level of manipulation openly, I don’t buy it.”
Who from the DNC said this? Until the @DNC says they’re to this level of manipulation openly, I don’t buy it.
— Cullen Tiernan 🕊🌅 (@CullenYossarian) September 10, 2019
Gabbard’s campaign for weeks has criticized the DNC’s polling requirements, suggesting that the criteria, even though it was set months ago, was rigged to keep her off the debate stage.
Gabbard has failed to gain much traction in the presidential race since she announced her candidacy in January. On Sunday, CBS and YouGov released four additional polls conducted in the early voting states of South Carolina, Nevada, Iowa and New Hampshire, which could have counted as DNC qualifying polls. However, Gabbard didn’t reach beyond 1%. She has until the end of this month to make October’s debate.