NJ Politics Digest: Will Booker Qualify for First Democratic Debate?

Cory Booker at the "Justice For All" Kickoff Tour in Newark, N.J. on April 13, 2019.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. Jason Bergman

The first debates between the Democratic primary candidates are approaching, and New Jersey’s Cory Booker is working hard to ensure he qualifies to be on the stage.

As NJ.com reports, there are two criteria for gaining a spot in the debates, which are limited to 20 candidates: The first is to gain more than 1 percent in three different recognized polls—something Booker has already done. The second is to receive money from at least 65,000 individual donors, including at least 200 donors from at least 20 states.

That’s something Booker hasn’t done yet. NJ.com reports the candidate sent out a mailer Thursday saying he’s still 1,971 donors shy of the required mark. In the mailer, Booker said his “underdog” candidacy needs to participate in the debates to be able to compete with other, better-funded candidates, according to the report. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has already raised $18 million in the first quarter, giving him a wide lead in fundraising.

Booker wants to reach both goals, because if all candidates reach at least one of the requirements, the field will then be winnowed by seeing who has met both.

As NJ.com reports, each of the top 20 qualifiers will participate in one of two debates, which will each be limited to 10 candidates apiece. The lineup of the debates will be chosen randomly.

The first debate is scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Miami. The second is July 30 and 31 in Detroit, Michigan.

Quote of the Day: “While I’m grateful for the small amount of money that came that way—truly I am, and for the effort behind it—it’s not enough.” — Montclair State University President Susan Cole, on the state increasing aid to 13 senior public colleges by $14 million for 2019.

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NJ Politics Digest: Will Booker Qualify for First Democratic Debate?