The Democratic National Committee is changing its requirements to qualify for debates after New Hampshire, potentially opening the door for billionaire Mike Bloomberg, whose self-funded campaign refuses to accept campaign contributions.

The new rules eliminate the individual-donor threshold, which was used for the first eight debates.

Since Bloomberg has refused to accept campaign donations, which he says maintains his independence from special interests, he has been excluded from all the debates since he joined the race.

In order to participate in the Feb. 19 debate in Las Vegas, candidates must earn at least 10% in four polls released from Jan. 15 to Feb. 18, or 12% in two polls in Nevada or South Carolina (early voting states). Any candidate who earns at least one delegate to the national convention in either the Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary will automatically qualify for the debate.

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“Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold,” said Adrienne Watson, a DNC spokeswoman. “The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations, and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren’t.”

“We are thrilled that voters could soon have the chance to see Mike Bloomberg on the debate stage, hear his vision for the country and see why he is the strongest candidate to defeat Donald Trump and bring our country together,” Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement.

As of Friday, only three candidates have met the Nevada polling thresholds: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Bloomberg has reached 10% in only one of the necessary four polls so far.


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