Cory Booker Announces He Will Not Qualify for Next Democratic Debate

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Cory Booker speaks during the Teamsters Vote 2020 Presidential Forum in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, U.S., December 7, 2019. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

Senator Cory Booker (D., N.J.) said Thursday that he does not expect to qualify for the sixth Democratic primary debate next week but assured his supporters that he still has a path to victory.

“While I may not be on the debate stage next Thursday, thanks to the outpouring of support over the past few weeks, we know there’s a path to victory, and we no longer need the debate stage to get there,” the New Jersey Democrat wrote on Twitter.

Democratic 2020 candidates must meet the Democratic National Committee’s newly tightened qualifying criteria before midnight on Thursday. Booker has met one of the criteria, garnering 200,000 separate donors. However, the senator is far from achieving the DNC’s polling requirement of 4 percent support in four national or early primary and caucus state polls approved by the DNC, or 6 percent in two approved polls in early states. The polls must be published between October 16 and December 12.

Booker currently polls at less than 2 percent nationally, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. The next primary debate would be the first time he has failed to make it onto the stage.

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Booker has vowed to fight on despite the setback. His campaign was showered with donations after Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) dropped out somewhat abruptly earlier this month.

“We’re still here,” said Addisu Demissie, Booker’s campaign manager. “We’re definitely fighting an uphill battle, but we’re fighting.”

The next Democratic debate will be hosted on December 19 in Los Angeles by PBS NewsHour and Politico. So far the candidates expected to qualify are former vice president Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, South Bend, Ind. mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar, tech businessman Andrew Yang, and billionaire Tom Steyer.

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