Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is among the many Democratic presidential candidates who did not qualify for September’s debate round by yesterday’s deadline.
Now, she says that the criteria for making the debate stage “lacks transparency.”
Gabbard told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that “the whole thing gets a little bit confusing and you’ve got to jump way down into the weeds of the numbers and the statistics, but I think the bigger problem is that the whole process really lacks transparency.”
The Democratic National Committee sets rules for candidates in order to qualify for each debate. While the first two rounds saw 20 candidates each, split into two nights of 10, the Sept. 12 debate criteria resulted in a much narrower pool. The guidelines for the third debate were announced in May, and 10 candidates qualified.
Candidates needed to receive donations from at least 130,000 unique donors, coming from at least 20 different states with at least 400 donors per state. And, candidates needed to poll at 2% or higher in at least four qualifying national or early primary state surveys.
USA TODAY/Suffolk poll: Gabbard at less than 1%
It is the latter criterion Gabbard takes issue with. She passed the donor threshold but did not rake up enough qualifying polls with only two, according to FiveThirtyEight.
The DNC mandates that polls must be conducted by any four of 16 different organizations, which include the likes of The Associated Press, Fox News, Quinnipiac University and USA TODAY. More than one poll from the same organization can not count unless they are conducted over different geographic regions.
“There’s a whole bunch of different polls that have come out. The DNC has only recognized some of them as being qualifying polls for the debate,” Gabbard said.
More: Lineup cut in half: Here’s who made the third Democratic presidential debate
Gabbard may still qualify for the October round, which has the same criteria as the September debate, but allows candidates more time to meet it. That deadline is yet to be announced
Last week Gabbard’s campaign released a statement calling on the DNC to recognize more polls. It claimed she has polled at higher than 2% in 26 national and early-state polls.
“The Democratic National Committee has the responsibility to facilitate more conversations between the future leaders of this country, not less,” the statement said.
Gabbard’s campaign has a history of criticizing the debate processes as unfair. . After the first debate in June on MSNBC, Gabbard’s sister took over her Twitter account to complain that the network was biased in favor of Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“They aren’t giving any time to Tulsi at all,” she said in the tweet.
And again the night before Gabbard took the stage in CNN’s July debate, her sister said of the first night of the debate round “If tonight’s debate on CNN is as biased/unfair as last night, the DNC needs to reconsider CNN hosting future debates.”