The first two Democratic primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire are intended to do two things: Build momentum for potential frontrunners and winnow the field by forcing unviable candidates to grapple with hard data. In both of those regards, they were successful.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg emerged from the pack as the candidates to beat, and quite a few others took a long, hard look in the mirror and decided to end their bid for the Oval Office.
Businessman Andrew Yang, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick all dropped out of the race within hours of one another.
“I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race,” Yang said to supporters in New Hampshire Tuesday evening. “So tonight I am announcing that I am suspending my campaign.”
Eight Democratic candidates remain in the presidential race, and so far only five have qualified for the next debate on Feb. 19 in Las Vegas ahead of the Nevada primary.
As the debate stage becomes less crowded, candidates are finding it easier to break out from the rest of the field. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) had a standout moment during the last debate in New Hampshire, which in part, led to rise to third place on Tuesday.
To score an invite to the ninth Democratic debate, candidates will have to either receive 12% of voter support in two polls in Nevada or South Carolina or receive 10% in four polls that are national, from Nevada, or South Carolina. Candidates who received at least one delegate in the Iowa or New Hampshire primaries will also qualify.
Here’s who you’ll be seeing on stage next Wednesday:
Former Vice President Joe Biden has received 10% or more in six state or national polls and has passed the delegate threshold.
Sanders qualifies for the debate through his state and national polling and delegate count.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) crossed both delegate and poll thresholds.
Buttigieg has received the delegates necessary to enter the debates.
Klobuchar has also received more than one delegate.
Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg remains on the cusp of qualifying for his first debate. All he needs to gain entry is one more state or national poll that puts him at more than 10%.
Previous debates had donor thresholds, as well as polling qualifications. Bloomberg, who is eschewing donations and instead funding his campaign with his own cash, was automatically disqualified from participating.
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