Will Bloomberg attend the Las Vegas debate if he qualifies?
With donor requirements out of the way, 2020 contender Mike Bloomberg could qualify to face his Democratic competitors on the debate stage later this month — but with just over two weeks until that Las Vegas debate, whether he will choose to attend is still unclear.
Last week, the Democratic National Committee announced a major revision to its qualification criteria that paves the way for the former New York City mayor to be included.
The billionaire businessman, who made a late entry into the race in November, was ineligible to qualify for Democratic debates because he is self-funding his entire campaign and accepting no donations, making him unable to meet the previous donor requirements.
Now, candidates must register 10 percent support in four national polls or 12 percent support in two state polls in Nevada and South Carolina to make the next two debates. Candidates could also qualify by getting at least one delegate out of the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary — however, Bloomberg entered the race too late to compete in either.
Bloomberg’s campaign told The Post earlier this month that it would not request that the DNC change its rules to allow him to participate, saying, “We will abide by the DNC rules. If we are eligible, we will certainly debate.”
Now that the requirements have changed, however, Bloomberg’s staff have not said whether he will be on the stage at the Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas.
“Mike’s said again and again that he wants to debate, and even ran ads saying that. Mike Bloomberg’s combination of ideas and experience as an entrepreneur, the Mayor of the nation’s largest city and as a philanthropist make him the best candidate to take on Donald Trump, and he’d love to show that on a debate stage,” Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser told The Post on Monday.
Bloomberg is fairly close to qualifying for the second debate in February. He surged to fourth place nationally with 12 percent support in the latest Morning Consult poll, surpassing former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Most rivals of Bloomberg — who along with President Trump spent more than $10 million on two 30-second Super Bowl ads that aired during the big game Sunday night — slammed the DNC for appearing to accommodate the late-entry, self-funded candidate in order to get him on stage, though one expressed excitement at being able to finally debate him.
“To now change the rules in the middle of the game to accommodate Mike Bloomberg, who is trying to buy his way into the Democratic nomination, is wrong. That’s the definition of a rigged system,” Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said in a statement at the time.
“The DNC didn’t change the rules to ensure good, diverse candidates could remain on the debate stage. They shouldn’t change the rules to let a billionaire on. Billionaires shouldn’t be allowed to play by different rules — on the debate stage, in our democracy, or in our government,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted in reaction to the change.
Fellow 2020 candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) took the news differently, welcoming the chance to face off with the billionaire former mayor.
“I’d be fine with him being on the debate stage because I think that instead of just putting your money out there, he’s actually got to be on the stage and be able to go back and forth so voters can evaluate him in that way,” she said during an appearance on MSNBC last week.
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