Democratic presidential hopeful Tim Ryan on Friday said he thinks there should be three stages for the first Democratic National Committee presidential debate, and that there shouldn’t be an effective winnowing of the field this early in the proceedings.
“My opinion would be, do three nights to have everybody on there,” Mr. Ryan, a congressman from Ohio, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Do seven or eight persons a night — give people more time and let it play out.”
Among those who didn’t qualify were Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Rep. Seth Moulton; Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam; and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.
“I don’t think we need to be winnowing the field this early myself,” Mr. Ryan said. “I mean, I think Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada — they should winnow the field.”
Candidates had to register at least 1 percent support in three polls, or secure 65,000 contributions — including at least 200 from 20 states — in order to qualify for the debate. The DNC has already announced it was increasing the polling and donation thresholds for candidates to qualify for its third debate in September.
Mr. Ryan said the donation requirement, in particular, can create perverse incentives for candidates, many of whom likely need every dollar at this point to get their message out to voters.
“I don’t think the small-dollar donation idea is really the best,” he said. “I think it’s having a lot of unintended consequences now, to where people are raising lots of money and then spending 25 to 50, some are saying up to $75 to get a $1 contribution.”
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