This week in The Political Edge, we recap yesterday’s special election in Pennsylvania and take a look at which 2020 Democrats have qualified for the first primary debate.
2020 Debate Update
With 23 major Democratic candidates running for president, the DNC has created a list of requirements a person running must meet in order to qualify for the primary debates. The first debate is scheduled for June 26 and 27 and the candidates need to reach the targets set by the DNC by June 12.
With the deadline quickly approaching, The Washington Post published a good overview of how candidates can qualify, and who’s in, out, and on the bubble.
How To Qualify: “It’s an either/or scenario. You either must have 65,000 people donate to you from across 20 states OR you receive 1 percent of support in three polls the DNC deems as qualified. Those rules are actually very inclusive, so much so that the DNC may have to narrow them again before the first debate. The DNC decided to cut off the number of candidates who can qualify for a debate at 20.”
Who’s In: 11 candidates will definitely appear on the debate stage, as all of them have qualified on both polling and donations. They are:
- Former Vice President Joe Biden
- Cory Booker (NJ)
- South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Former Housing and Urban Development secretary Julián Castro
- Tulsi Gabbard (HI)
- Kamala D. Harris (CA)
- Amy Klobuchar (MN)
- Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke
- Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
- Elizabeth Warren (MA)
- Andrew Yang
On The Bubble: There are eight candidates that have qualified with one criteria and are currently slated to be on the debate stage. However, if more than 20 make the debate stage, they could be cut. The Washington Post notes, “To determine who gets cut, the DNC would average each of the below candidates’ highest showing in three qualified polls and rank the candidates from there.” Candidates on the bubble are:
- Former Maryland congressman John Delaney (polling)
- Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) (right on the line on polling)
- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (polling)
- Washington Gov Jay Inslee (polling)
- Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan (appears to have qualified on polling)
- California Rep. Eric Swalwell (appears to have qualified on polling)
- Marianne Williamson (donors)
Currently Out: There are five major candidates who have currently not qualified:
- Michael F. Bennet (CO)
- New York Mayor Bill de Blasio:
- Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
- Miramar, Fla., Mayor Wayne Messam
- Seth Moulton (MA)
Recapping the Pennsylvania 12 Special Election
Yesterday, voters in Pennsylvania’s 12th District went to the polls to select a representative to replace former-Rep. Tom Marino, who retired earlier this year. The race for the open seat saw Republican state Rep. Fred Keller squaring off against Democrat Marc Friedenberg, a professor who ran an unsuccessful campaign against Marino last year.
With a PVI of R+17, the district has historically been reliably conservative. That didn’t stop outside voices from getting involved. NextGen America, a liberal youth voter group backed by billionaire Tom Steyer, worked to register and mobilize young voters at Penn State ahead of the special election. Keller was endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and President Trump held a rally with him on Monday night.
In the end, history prevailed, and Keller easily won the special election. As of this writing, 98.57% of precincts have reported and Keller leads by about 40 points. Keller defeated Friedenberg by a slightly larger margin than Marino did in 2018 (+35.66 vs. +32.08), but turnout was significantly lower. The special election saw 115,312 fewer voters than the 2018 midterm, a decrease of 47 percent. Results are listed below. County by county results can be found here.
|Republican:: Keller (R)||67.83%||87,208||R+35.66|
|Democrat:: Friedenberg (D)||32.17%||41,352|
For comparison, below are the results from the 2018 midterm.
|Republican:: Marino (R)||66.04%||161,047||R+32.08|
|Democrat:: Friedenberg (D)||33.96%||82,825|