Billionaire Tom Steyer Qualifies For Next Democratic Debate After Placing 2nd In South Carolina Poll
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer qualified for next week’s debate after an apparent jump in two early-voting state polls.
Two new Fox News polls show the billionaire candidate polling in the double digits — above some prominent candidates — in both South Carolina and Nevada. The polls were released Thursday, just one day before the qualification deadline.
In Nevada, Steyer is tied for third place with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) with 12%. The two trail former Vice President Joe Biden by nine points and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) by 5 points.
The South Carolina poll shows Steyer in second place with 15%, behind Biden (36%). Steyer edged out Sanders at 14% and Warren at 10%.
The debate, scheduled for Jan. 14 in Iowa, requires candidates to hit 5% in four Democratic National Committee approved polls, or 7% in two early state polls. They also must meet the unique donor threshold of 225,000.
Steyer previously announced that he reached the donor threshold. He is currently the only candidate who hit only the early-state polling requirement.
The others who qualified for the debate — Biden, Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), Sanders and Warren — all hit both 7% in two early state polls and 5% in four polls.
His success in Nevada and South Carolina can be attributed to an expensive multimedia campaign.
Steyer has spent $11.2 million in South Carolina on TV spots and direct mail campaign materials. In Nevada, he spent $10.3 million in television and radio ads, and has an additional $270,000 planned.
Notably, several candidates who have appeared on the debate stage previously failed to qualify for this debate.
Yang said he hit the donor mark, but only has one of the four necessary polls. He received 4% in Nevada and 2% in South Carolina.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), reached the donor requirement but has not polled at 5 percent in any qualifying polls.
Tulsi Gabbard has not announced meeting the donor requirement, nor reached 5% in any qualifying poll.