- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2020

Billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer has qualified for next week’s Democratic presidential debate, hitting the polling threshold just ahead of the Friday deadline.

Mr. Steyer made it to the debate stage by capturing 12% of the vote and tying for third place in a Fox News poll in Nevada, which was released Thursday.

In another new poll from Fox News, he garnered 15% of the vote and a second-place finish in South Carolina.

It was some of the best polling results yet for Mr. Steyer.

He now will join five other candidates in the debate Tuesday in Iowa. It will be a golden opportunity for candidates to make their mark ahead of the state’s caucuses that kick off the nominating season Feb. 3.

The strong showing in Nevada put him over the top with the Democratic National Committee requirement of more than 7% in at least three early-voting state polls.

Candidates could also qualify with 5% of the vote in at least four national polls approved by the DNC.

Candidates also had to get a minimum of 225,000 individual donors. Mr. Steyer, who courted small-dollar contributions in an aggressive and expensive social media campaign, previously announced that he hit the donor threshold.

He also has blanketed the country with TV ads that boosted him in early-voting states. The strategy prompted rival to criticize him for buying his way onto the debate stage.

The other candidates set to take the stage in Iowa are former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In the Nevada poll, Mr. Biden placed first with 23%, followed by Mr. Sanders with 17%. Mr. Steyer and Ms. Warren tied for third at 12%

In the South Carolina poll, Mr. Biden finished far in front with 36% and Mr. Steyer placed second with 15%. Mr. Sanders came in third at 14% and Ms. Warren followed with 10%.

None of the other candidates broke into double digits.

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