Businessman Tom Steyer qualified on Thursday for next week’s Democratic debate with the release of two new Fox News polls.
In one poll, Steyer earned 12% among likely Nevada Democratic caucusgoers. In another, he earned 15% among South Carolina likely Democratic primary voters.
Those two early-state polls, along with Steyer hitting the fundraising threshold, will place the businessman on stage next week at the CNN/Des Moines Register debate alongside five other Democratic candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren also qualified for the debate.
The deadline to make the debate, as set by the Democratic National Committee, is Friday at 11:59 p.m.
The billionaire and longtime Democratic donor has spent more than $110 million on TV ads for his presidential campaign, outspending every other 2020 Democrat on TV ads by a large margin, except for former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg, who is also a billionaire, has spent more than $150 million on TV ads.
Steyer, whose net worth reached $1.6 billion this year according to Forbes, operated as a funding force in Democratic politics before officially launching his campaign in July. He spent millions bankrolling candidates and organizations that promoted liberal causes and the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Steyer starred in self-funded television commercials calling for Congress to remove Trump from office.
In order to qualify for the January debate, candidates need to meet both polling and fundraising minimums. For the polling criteria, candidates need to receive 5% in at least four DNC-approved national or early state (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) polls, or receive 7% in two early state polls. Candidates also need to receive donations from at least 225,000 unique donors, and a minimum of 1,000 unique donors per state in at least 20 different states.