Businessman Andrew Yang becomes 9th candidate to qualify for September debate


WASHINGTON D.C. (KETK) – Entrepreneur Andrew Yang has become the 9th Democratic candidate to qualify for the next debate in September.

Yang has never held elected office and yet beat other more-known senators, governors, and mayors to the stage. A new poll in Iowa showed Yang with 2 percent support, giving him the last poll he needs to qualify.

Here are the other eight candidates to qualify so far:

  • Former VP Joe Biden
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Sen. Cory Booker
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg

The more stringent debate requires candidates to have 130,000 unique donors and be polling at 2 percent in four different qualifying polls.

Yang released a statement saying he was excited to take the podium:

“I said in the last debate that American politics had turned into a reality show that produced a reality-show president,” he said. “Solutions don’t come in 30-second sound bites and the American people are tired of leadership condensed into 280 characters. The country heard my message and is ready to talk about real solutions to gun violence, the new realities of the American economy, and how we measure our health and success as a nation.”

Andrew Yang

Yang entered the campaign as an extreme long shot, virtually unknown until recently. However, he has been consistently polling higher than Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) and Amy Klobuchar (MN) as well as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The entrepreneur has promised to establish a universal basic income as president, which would give every American $1,000 a month.

The debate will be held in Houston on September 12 and 13. If only 10 or fewer candidates qualify for the debate, then only one round will be hosted on the September 12.

The location is a sign of an intense strategy by the Democrats to host debates in key battleground states.

In the 2018 midterms, Congressman Beto O’Rourke lost in a tight Senate race to Ted Cruz by just one point. By contrast, Hillary Clinton lost the state to President Trump in 2016 by nine points.

The second debate was held in Michigan back in July, a state that Trump swung for the Republicans in 2016 for the first time in 28 years.

While the September debate may seem like the DNC is trying to trim down the competition, the party clarified this week that the October debates will have the same entry rules as the July event.

These qualifiers had a much lower bar and allowed for 20 of the 24 candidates to take the stage.

The DNC said this is so that the lower polling candidates can be given a chance to drum up support. However, critics say that the party should be focused on trimming the field by the fall.

Even if the candidates do qualify for October, those that miss the September event would be a crucial blow to their campaign.

The October debate doesn’t yet have a date, but more than likely it would be held less than four months before the Iowa Caucus on February 3.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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