Gov Beat

Next debate stage will be the smallest, lacking diversity

Six candidates have been invited to participate in next week’s presidential primary debate in Iowa, the smallest debate stage yet, the Democratic National Committee announced Saturday.

The candidates invited (in alphabetical order): former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend (Ind.) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, businessman Tom Steyer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

The six-candidate lineup is one fewer than last month’s debate, when there was only one nonwhite candidate on the stage. Andrew Yang, the entrepreneur who rose from anonymity to the second-tier of the Democratic presidential race, fell short of the DNC’s criteria to qualify.

To land an invite to the debate, candidates needed to hit 5 percent in four polls approved by the DNC, either nationally or in one of the four early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) or 7 percent in DNC-approved polls conducted in the early states.

Additionally, candidates needed to receive contributions from 225,000 unique donors (with 1,000 donors in at least 20 different states, territories or D.C.).

Yang’s campaign said he easily cleared the donor threshold. But he did not hit the polling threshold, hitting 5 percent in an approved poll twice — including in the last poll released in the qualification window, a Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa poll released Friday night.

Also missing from the stage are candidates like Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Booker had cleared the donor threshold and Gabbard was within striking distance, but neither of them hit five percent in any approved polls.

CNN and the Des Moines Register, the co-hosts of the Jan. 14 debate, announced a podium order based off the average of qualifying polls released in January. From left to right, as the audience will see the candidates: Steyer, Warren, Biden, Sanders, Buttigieg, Klobuchar.

The debate starts at 9 p.m. Eastern Time from Drake University in Des Moines, airing on CNN and streaming online.

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