Elections 2020FederalIssuesJulián Castro Meets Qualification Threshold for Fall Democratic Presidential Debates

The former San Antonio mayor has seen an uptick in donor support for his presidential bid since his debate performance last month.
July 8, 2019
According to a tweet from the candidate this morning, former San Antonio mayor Julián Castro reached the necessary amount of campaign donors to qualify for the next Democratic presidential debates scheduled for the fall.

Castro stated, “Hey, y’all, I have great news! This morning we hit a key requirement to qualify for the fall debates: 130,000 of you have made a donation to my campaign. Thank you, I’m honored to have your support! Let’s keep up the great momentum!”

After his debate performance on June 26, the former Texas mayor and Obama administration cabinet secretary saw a significant uptick in his campaign donations.

At the June debate, he criticized fellow Texas presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke for refusing to endorse his plan to decriminalize illegal immigration

Castro wants to change illegal entry into the United States to a civil violation as opposed to a criminal offense.

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O’Rourke opposes the change, arguing that there needs to be a mechanism in place to fully prosecute human and drug traffickers.

Jeh Johnson, former secretary of homeland security under President Obama, argued that Castro’s plan is “tantamount to declaring publicly that we have open borders.”

Some Republicans share Johnson’s sentiment. GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel criticized the candidates on June 26 for failing to say that illegal immigration is a crime, saying that “the Democrat Party in 2020 is for open borders.”

According to a poll from ABC News and the Washington Post, the debate appears to have helped Castro gain popularity. He polled at 3 percent, while O’Rourke polled at 2 percent.

However, the ABC News/Washington Post poll conflicts with other data released during the same timeframe.

Polling information released by CNN actually showed Castro dropping from 2 to 1 percent between the end of May and the end of June.

And according to RealClearPolitics, Castro trails O’Rourke in aggregate, with the two candidates at 1.4 and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Castro will need to poll at 2 percent in an approved poll by the end of August to fully qualify for the fall debates.

This election cycle, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) implemented new requirements for candidates to qualify for the presidential debates.

For the first debate in June and the upcoming one in July, candidates had to poll above 1 percent or receive donations from 65,000 unique individuals.

The requirements for the fall debates are double those of the summer: candidates need to poll above 2 percent and receive donations from 130,000 people.

Castro and O’Rourke are both currently expected to debate in September and October.

Before that, though, there will be another two-night debate on July 30-31. It will be hosted by CNN in Detroit and the lineup for candidates on each night will be randomized.

Correction: This story originally stated that candidates had to poll above 2 percent OR receive donations from 130,000 unique individuals to qualify for the fall debates. We have corrected the story to point out that candidates must meet both requirements. We apologize for the oversight.


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Daniel Friend

Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.