- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer on Tuesday announced that his presidential campaign had more than 130,000 individual donors, hitting another benchmark to get into the September debate in Houston.

Mr. Steyer called it “an amazing accomplishment” for his young campaign.

“I’m proud to tell you that more than 130,000 people have invested in our campaign — a campaign run on the idea that, as Americans, we deserve more of a say in what happens to our country than a foreign oligarch or corporation does,” he said in an email to supporters.

Mr. Steyer’s campaign has been on a fast track since entering the race a month ago and appears poised to reach the debate stage, despite tougher entrance criteria that are expected to block at least a dozen of the 2020 Democratic hopefuls.

A hedge fund billionaire and longtime Democratic activist, Mr. Steyer entered the race with a pledge to spend $100 million of his fortune on the race. In the first month, He spent nearly $4 million on TV ads across four early voting states that paid off with his poll numbers rising faster than many of his rivals who are experienced politicians but remain stuck in the 1% club.

He has hit 2% or more in three polls, two in Iowa and one in South Carolina. He needs to reach 2% in another poll to qualify for the debate.

The candidates must score at least 2% in four approved polls and have at least 130,000 individual donors across 20 states to get on the debate stage in Houston.

Mr. Steyer missed the first two debates for the 2020 Democratic hopefuls in which 20 candidates participated.

The Democratic National Committee raised the bar to get into the third debate, and about half the two dozen candidates in the race are expected not to qualify.

The candidates now must meet both a polling and a donor threshold, instead of either, and each threshold is higher than it had been.

Candidates now need the 2% in the polls and 130,000 donors across 20 states, up from 1% in polls or 65,000 donors required for the first two debates.

So far, nine candidates appear to have made the cut: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont; Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California; Sen. Cory A. Booker of New Jersey; Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

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