During Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, there will be a new face on stage, even as the competition for the limelight has steadily whittled down as other candidates have suspended their campaigns.
According to CNN, Michael Bloomberg has qualified for the Wednesday debate, making this the first time that he will be welcomed on stage with the other top candidates who have sustained the polling and donation thresholds set by the Democratic National Committee.
The report notes that Bloomberg met the polling threshold on Tuesday after an NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found the billionaire polling at 19% nationally. The NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll was the fourth such survey where Bloomberg ranked above 10% nationally, which was the DNC requirement, CNN notes.
In the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, Bloomberg’s 19% finish actually put him second place only to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who raked in 31% of the support.
Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey told CNN in a statement that the former New York City mayor is “looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates on stage and making the case for why he’s the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump and unite the country. The opportunity to discuss his workable and achievable plans for the challenges facing this country is an important part of the campaign process.”
However, Bloomberg’s qualification comes at a tense time, where the former mayor has been facing increasing scrutiny over comments he made about young Black boys and men defending stop-and-frisk (which he was already receiving backlash for).
Bloomberg’s history of alleged sexism and sexual harassment at Bloomberg LP has also come to light.
It will be interesting to see how the former mayor handles more direct and pointed scrutiny not only from moderators but also from his fellow candidates who have already signaled their willingness to attack him.
Bloomberg has been surging in the polls consistently, even as his campaign ads have become nearly ubiquitous. And that’s only expected. After all, Bloomberg has personally spent more than $400 million on television, radio and digital ads for his campaign.
“I got news for Mr. Bloomberg, and that is the American people are sick and tired of billionaires buying elections,” Sanders said at a dinner in Nevada on Saturday, according to CNN.
Joe Biden, who hasn’t been performing as well in the early contests, including the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primaries, also took a swipe at Bloomberg quipping “$60 billion can buy you a lot of advertising … it can’t erase your record.”