Tom Steyer Qualifies for October Debates After Earlier Falling Short

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(Bloomberg) -- Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said he’s met the criteria to qualify for the October presidential debate in Ohio after falling just short for this week’s Democratic showdown in Houston.

Steyer, who has made impeaching President Donald Trump a centerpiece of his campaign and has spent millions on TV and digital advertising since joining the race as a late entrant, said in a emailed statement on Sunday that he met the threshold set by the Democratic National Committee for the debate, including at least 2% in four qualified polls.

“We are thrilled that Tom will be able to share his vision -- of how together we can fix our broken political system -- with the American public,” said campaign manager Heather Hargreaves. “Ohio here we come,” Hargreaves said on Twitter.

The poll that took Steyer over the top was the CBS News/YouGov survey released on Sunday, in which Steyer reached 2% support in Nevada. The former hedge fund manager, 62, had already reached the DNC’s threshold for individual donors.

Steyer is the 11th Democrat to qualify, which means the event will take place over two nights, Oct. 15-16, at a yet-to-be-announced location. Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard is one poll away from qualifying.

The threshold for the September and October debates is higher than for the first two events, in July and August. Some low-polling hopefuls, including Michael Bennet and Steve Bullock, complained that the move is designed to winnow the field prematurely since the first nominating contests for 2020 are still months away.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the debate criteria are “a very reasonable bar.”

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