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Politics Harris becomes fifth candidate to qualify for December presidential debate

00:50  05 november  2019
00:50  05 november  2019 Source:   thehill.com

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) will join at least four other Democratic presidential hopefuls on the debate stage in December after notching 4 percent in a new national poll released Sunday.

Kamala Harris wearing a suit and tie: Harris becomes fifth candidate to qualify for December presidential debate© Getty Images Harris becomes fifth candidate to qualify for December presidential debate

To make the December debate, candidates have to amass the support of at least 200,000 unique donors and register 4 percent or more in four qualifying polls or 6 percent in two approved early voting state polls.

Prior to Sunday, Harris had met the donor threshold, but remained one qualifying poll away. That changed, however, after an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Sunday morning showed her at 4 percent, an analysis of donor and polling data shows.

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Ian Sams, a spokesman for Harris's campaign, confirmed to The Hill that the California senator qualified for the December debate, which is set to take place in Los Angeles on Dec. 19.

So far, four other candidates have qualified for the December debate: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The debate qualification is welcome news for Harris, who has struggled in recent months to maintain the momentum she gained after a standout performance in the first Democratic debate in June.

Her campaign announced last week that it would lay off some staff from its headquarters in Baltimore and redeploy others to Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state that Harris is betting on to keep her 2020 ambitions alive.

The December debate could include significantly fewer candidates than other debates this year.

In addition to the five candidates who have qualified for the event, only two other candidates have met the 200,000-donor threshold set by the Democratic National Committee, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and former tech executive Andrew Yang. Both still need to meet the polling requirement if they hope to be on the debate stage next month.

Rachel Frazin contributed.

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