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Politics All 7 presidential contenders might skip this month's debate

04:31  14 december  2019
04:31  14 december  2019 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Tulsi Gabbard says she will skip the December Democratic debate

  Tulsi Gabbard says she will skip the December Democratic debate Despite being one poll away from qualifying for the December debate, the Hawaii Congresswoman stated she wouldn't attend the debate.To qualify for the match-up on December 19, which is the final debate of the year, candidates must receive 4% or more support in at least four polls, which include national polls or polls in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada.

The debate is a crucial opportunity for the seven candidates who are slated to appear on stage an opportunity to spar over the issues before a national audience The union sent a letter, obtained by ABC News, to the presidential contenders on Friday, informing the Democrats of the labor dispute.

SEARCH. Skip to content Skip to site index. A close friend of former President Barack Obama, has told advisers that he envisions a campaign focused more on bringing people together and healing the country than making a particular ideological case.

Less than a week before the last Democratic primary debate of 2019, all seven of the presidential candidates, including polling front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who are qualified to appear on the stage in Los Angeles, announced they "won't cross the union's picket line" to participate in the upcoming matchup.

Elizabeth Warren standing in front of a flag: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gestures as she delivers an economic policy speech  on December 12, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire.© Scott Eisen/Getty Images Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gestures as she delivers an economic policy speech on December 12, 2019 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Warren wrote on Twitter, ".@UniteHere11 is fighting for better wages and benefits—and I stand with them. The DNC should find a solution that lives up to our party's commitment to fight for working people. I will not cross the union's picket line even if it means missing the debate."

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The 2020 Democratic Party presidential debates have taken place among candidates in the campaign for the Democratic Party' s nomination for the president of the United States in the 2020 presidential

The tweet, coupled with similar statements from Biden, Sanders, billionaire Tom Steyer, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Twitter, injected a fresh round of uncertainty and turmoil around which candidates will participate in the sixth debate, which is slated for Thursday, Dec. 19 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and co-hosted by PBS NewsHour and POLITICO.

Yang's campaign underscored their commitment to the union, telling ABC News that the entrepreneur will participate in the debate if the dispute gets settled or a new venue is chosen.

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Last month , Biden struggled to respond to comments from Lucy Flores, a 2014 lieutenant governor nominee in Facing an African American congregation this month in Brooklyn, Bloomberg Bullock failed to make the presidential debate stage in June, but did so in July. Due to the stricter guidelines

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A spokesperson for Sanders told ABC News "he will not cross a picket line to attend the debate," before clarifying that if the labor dispute is ongoing, he will not participate in the debate.

The labor vote is a key bloc of the Democratic coalition with the candidates frequently participating in rallies, events and forums hosted by unions in an effort to court their vote.

(MORE: 6th Democratic primary debate to be held at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles)

The seven candidates who are qualified for the upcoming debate and scheduled to appear are Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Steyer, Sanders, Warren and Yang.

The Democratic National Committee announced late Friday they are working "with all stakeholders" to come to a resolution ahead of the debate, noting that Chairman Tom Perez, a former labor secretary under President Barack Obama, would also not "cross a picket line."

Candidates threaten to boycott debate over labor dispute at Loyola Marymount

  Candidates threaten to boycott debate over labor dispute at Loyola Marymount At least three of the seven Democratic presidential candidates who have qualified for next week's scheduled debate in Los Angeles threatened Friday to skip the event to express support for union workers in a contract dispute at Loyola Marymount University. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first to jump into the fray, declaring in a tweet that she would miss the debate rather than cross a picket line.

The comments came during a Democratic presidential debate that focused on President Bush' s foreign policy. Three other candidates, Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, retired General Wesley Clark and civil rights activist Al Sharpton skipped the debate .

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"The DNC and LMU learned of this issue earlier today, and it is our understanding this matter arose within the last day," said Xochitl Hinojosa, communications director for the DNC, in a statement. "While LMU is not a party to the negotiations between Sodexo and Unite Here Local 11, Tom Perez would absolutely not cross a picket line and would never expect our candidates to either. We are working with all stakeholders to find an acceptable resolution that meets their needs and is consistent with our values and will enable us to proceed as scheduled with next week’s debate."

The debate is a crucial opportunity for those seven contenders to spar over the issues before a national audience, ahead of the primary season entering the final month before early voting begins in February. The announcements from the candidates come only hours before the DNC is expected to formally release who is participating in the debate.

Earlier this week, after Yang qualified for the debate as the only candidate of color, he brought the total number of qualifying candidates who have crossed both the polling and grassroots donor hurdles up to seven for December's matchup.

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Behind the picket line is UNITE HERE Local 11, a labor union representing 150 workers in the food services industry, including cooks, dishwashers, cashiers, and servers, who are contracted by the company Sodexo -- a global services company. The union workers prepare and serve meals at Loyola Marymount.

The union sent a letter, obtained by ABC News, to the presidential contenders on Friday, informing the Democrats of the labor dispute.

"We want to make sure you are aware that there is a labor dispute involving our union on that campus," the letter reads. "While we remain hopeful that the labor dispute can be resolved before next Thursday, we want to be clear that if the situation remains unresolved there could be picketing on the evening of the debate. Any assistance you can provide in resolving this dispute would be greatly appreciated."

The letter is signed by three co-presidents of UNITE HERE Local 11: Ada Briceno, Susan Minato, and Kurt Petersen.

The DNC and Loyola Marymount were not made aware of the issue until after the letter was sent, a source familiar with negotiations told ABC News.

(MORE: Andrew Yang qualifies for last Democratic debate of 2019 as lone candidate of color)

Local 11 has been in negotiations with Sodexo since March over a collective bargaining agreement, as they seek to negotiate better contracts, including better wages and health care benefits, but have yet to reach a resolution. Workers, along with students, have been picketing on campus since November, according to the union, after Sodexo abruptly canceled scheduled contract negotiations last week.

"We had hoped that workers would have a contract with wages and affordable health insurance before the debate next week. Instead, workers will be picketing when the candidates come to campus," Minato said in a statement.

This is not the first union-related hurdle the DNC has faced for the site of the December debate.

In early November, the DNC announced it was no longer hosting the primary debate at the University of California, Los Angeles, the original location of the match-up, over a labor dispute with a local union.

"In response to concerns raised by the local organized labor community in Los Angeles, we have asked our media partners to seek an alternative site for the December debate. We will be in touch with more information when it is available," the DNC wrote in an email informing the campaigns.

The debate was moved to Loyola Marymount only days later, in an announcement by the DNC.

ABC News' Adam Kelsey and Armando Garcia contributed to this report.

AP FACT CHECK: Examining claims from 2020 Democratic debate .
WASHINGTON (AP) — Seven Democratic presidential contenders tangled Thursday night in the last debate of the year, hard on the heels of President Donald Trump's impeachment. How some of their claims compare with the facts: BERNIE SANDERS: “Today in America, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major country on Earth.” THE FACTS: The Vermont senator is exaggerating. There are nearly 200 countries in the world, many with people living in extreme poverty that most Americans would struggle to fathom. Poverty is also a relative measure in which someone who is poor in one nation might look rather prosperous in another.

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