- The Washington Times
Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock took a swipe at 2020 Democratic presidential rival Tom Steyer and the qualification metrics for the next debate, saying Mr. Steyer is being allowed to effectively buy his way onto the stage next month in Houston.

“A billionaire literally just spent $10 million to qualify for the next debate stage,” Mr. Bullock said in a video posted online late Tuesday. “If we think, as Democrats, that spending $10 million to get 130,000 donors is grassroots support, we’re missing something.”

Since entering the race last month, Mr. Steyer — a billionaire environmental activist who could spend upwards of $100 million on his campaign — has poured money into TV and online advertising.

He announced on Tuesday that he has secured the 130,000 individual contributions needed to qualify for the next debate stage, and appears to be one qualifying poll short of making it.

“We’re not going to win this election based on Facebook ads — we’re going to win by actually showing up, engaging, making people believe both the economy and Washington, D.C. can work for them,” Mr. Bullock said.

“I don’t have billions at my disposal — frankly, I wouldn’t want it,” he continued. “I’ve spent my whole career fighting against the corrupting influence of money in our system. That’s what I want to bring to the debate stage, but that’s also what I want to bring to Washington.”

To make the next debate stage, candidates have to secure contributions from 130,000 individual donors and hit 2% support in four qualifying polls.

Mr. Bullock hit the less stringent requirements to make last month’s debate, but he and other lesser-known candidates are now racing to hit the new marks with about two weeks left to qualify. Roughly half of the two dozen major Democratic candidates in the race are expected to be left out of the next debate.

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