Eleven Democratic candidates have qualified for the October debate in Ohio, but whether the debate will be held on one or two nights appears to be undecided.
Billionaire Tom Steyer reached 2% in his fourth approved poll on Sept. 8, according to multiple reports. That, along with at least 130,000 individual donors, qualifies him for the stage. This will be Steyer's first debate after joining the race on July 9.
Steyer will be joined on stage by the 10 candidates who took part in last week's debate and have already qualified for October.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Sen. Cory Booker
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro
- Sen. Kamala Harris
- Sen. Amy Klobuchar
- Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke
- Sen. Bernie Sanders
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren
- Former technology executive Andrew Yang
But whether it will be all 11 on stage in one night or a split of six on one night and five on the other remains to be seen. A one-night event will be on Oct. 15 while a second night, if needed, will be on Oct. 16. According to multiple reports, the DNC has not confirmed if there will be a second night. A press release from the DNC announcing the location and hosts of the debate did not specify and DNC officials have not yet responded to TEGNA's request for clarification.
In its first two debates, the Democrats ended up with 20 candidates who qualified under the previous rules -- 65,000 donations or 1% in three approved polls. That made the debates a two-night affair with 10 candidates per night.
The tougher requirements adopted for September and October whittled down the field -- three candidates dropped out of the race -- and put the debate on one night when only 10 candidates qualified for last Thursday's event.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard could also make the stage. She reportedly needs 2% in two more approved polls to qualify.
The only other Democratic candidate who has 2% in at least one poll is Marianne Williamson. Most of the remaining candidates have reached the 130,000 donor threshold but have not qualified in any polls. The deadline to obtain the necessary polling and fundraising is Oct. 1.
The advantage for voters for having all the candidates on one night is they see all the front runners together. Splitting it up may give some lower-polling candidates a chance to shine with more air time, but voters won't be able to hear everyone's contrasting positions head-to-head.