Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and eight other top 2020 Democratic candidates have signed a letter to Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez asking to lower the thresholds required to qualify for the January and February debates. The letter, written by the Booker campaign, urges Perez to use either a polling or fund-raising threshold, but not both, which is currently required. “Candidates who have proven both their viability and their commitment to the Democratic Party are being prematurely cut out of the nominating contest before many voters have even tuned in—much less made their decision about whom to support,” the letter reads. Booker has not qualified for the upcoming debates.
DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa told the New York Times that no campaign objected when the thresholds were announced earlier this year. “The D.N.C. will not change the threshold for any one candidate and will not revert to two consecutive nights with more than a dozen candidates,” Hinojosa said. “Our qualification criteria is extremely low and reflects where we are in the race.” Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, businessman Tom Steyer, former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang all signed on to the letter.