The next televised showdown for the Democratic presidential candidates will shrink to one debate stage after only 10 of the hopefuls met the polling and fundraising criteria set by the Democratic National Committee.
If any additional candidates had qualified by Wednesday’s deadline, ABC News, the sponsor of next month’s debate, would have randomly split the candidates in half and held the debate over two back-to-back nights.
Instead, the debate on Sept. 12 will markthe first time that all of the top candidates will debate together. The large field and random assignments had, thus far, prevented Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts from appearing with former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Kamala Harris of California.
For a time, it appeared billionaire self-funder Tom Steyer would disrupt that. He crossed the fundraising threshold — 130,000 unique donors — two weeks ago, and he sat on the precipice of the polling threshold, having earned 2 percent in three surveys by pollsters approved by the Democratic National Committee.