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Andrew Yang qualifies for the next presidential debate

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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With the Iowa caucuses just days away on Feb. 3, Andrew Yang is ramping up his campaign after learning he qualified for the next presidential debate prior to the New Hampshire primary.

The candidate, who has never run for office prior to his surprising campaign, qualified for the Democrats’ presidential debate being held Feb. 7 in New Hampshire after earning 5% in two polls: a CNN poll conducted by the University of New Hampshire and a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this past weekend. He had already met the DNC bar for the number of donors.

Yang joins six other candidates who have qualified for the debate: former Vice President Joe Biden; Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; businessman Tom Steyer; and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Yang’s participation in the New Hampshire debate will mean the Democrats won’t repeat the poor optics of the January debate when only White candidates appeared onstage. Yang, Tulsi Gabbard, Deval Patrick, and Cory Booker failed to meet the DNC’s criteria. Kamala Harris and Julian Castro had ended their campaigns in December and early January, respectively, with Booker pulling out of the race on Jan. 13, just a day before the debate.

To avoid the all-White candidates’ debate, the DNC added one more way a candidate could qualify—winning one delegate in Iowa, a feat that Yang and, perhaps, Gabbard might be able to meet.

Appearing on the conservative network Fox News last Sunday, Yang criticized the DNC for not allowing Fox to sponsor one of the debates. Yang’s appearance on the network, which has severely criticized the Democrats, followed his policy of reaching out to a wide spectrum of voters. 

“One thing I think Democrats should do, I think we should go on Fox News and talk to the American people,” Yang said. “Because how can you win an election and bring the country together if you literally won’t talk to 40% or 50% of the population?”

The qualification window for the Feb. 7 debate, hosted by ABC/WMUR, ends at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 6, reports Politico.

The rest of February’s debates are slated for Feb. 19 in Las Vegas, hosted by MSNBC/NBC News, and Feb. 25 in Charleston, South Carolina, hosted by CBS News. Qualification rules for these two debates have yet to be revealed. Nevada’s democratic caucus and South Carolina’s primary are scheduled for Feb. 22 and Feb. 29, respectively.

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