It appears Rep. Eric Swalwell is on the cusp of backing into a spot at the podium for two Democratic presidential debates later this month in Miami, despite not being able to procure 65,000 individual donations, a requirement that guarantees one of 20 slots.
Swalwell had already satisfied one of two requirements to participate in the debates by securing at least one percent in three party-sanctioned national polls.
But because of the larger-than-normal field of candidates, the Democratic Party limited the debate stage to 20 candidates. Those who satisfied both criteria are guaranteed a spot at the June 26 and June 27 debates.
Despite Swalwell’s ability to snag a number of high-profile television appearances since starting his run on April 8, his campaign has struggled to amass the benchmark of 65,000 donors, including 200 from at least 20 states.
Over the last two months, Swalwell’s social media platforms have constantly urged its followers to simply contribute $1 to the campaign in order to satisfy the donor requirement.
The announcement of Swalwell’s candidacy on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and guest slots on Real Time with Bill Maher, the Daily Show, and The View, have done little to move the needle in terms of widespread financial support for the campaign. Furthermore, the spate of television bookings comes after near-daily appearances on cable news over the past two years.
The Democratic Party set this Wednesday as the deadline to finalize the roster of 20 debate participants. As it stands, the inability of Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who only recently joined the race, to satisfy either requirement greatly increases Swalwell’s chances.
In the past few days, two national polls failed to register any support for Bullock, and for Swalwell, for that matter. Bullock has not reached the 65,000 donor threshold, either.
Inclusion in the early debates is viewed as Swalwell’s biggest opportunity to differentiate his campaign from the massive field of candidates. Without the invitation, his extremely long-shot chances for winning the nomination is zero.
Perhaps, sensing Swalwell is bound to soon return to his East Bay district for a run at re-election next March, the biggest name in the race to potentially replace him, state Sen. Bob Wieckowksi, dropped out of the race last Friday. Wieckowski cited a changing political landscape as the reason for exiting the race after just over three weeks since announcing his candidacy.