Michael Bloomberg qualifies for Democratic debate, showdown with candidates looms

Bloomberg was polling nationally at 19% meeting the threshold set by Democrats.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate after meeting the Democratic Party’s latest qualification criteria, according to an ABC News analysis.

A national poll by NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist that was released earlier Tuesday showed that Bloomberg was polling nationally at 19%, meeting the threshold set by the Democrats for him to be able to participate in this week’s debate.

“Our campaign is seeing a groundswell of support across the country, and qualifying for the Feb. 19 debate is the latest sign that Mike’s plan and ability to defeat Donald Trump is resonating with more and more Americans,” Bloomberg’s campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement.

Skeekey continued: “Mike 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.”

This will be the first time that Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign, will go toe-to-toe with the other Democratic candidates.

“We will not create the energy and excitement we need to defeat Donald Trump if that candidate [Michael Bloomberg] pursued, advocated for, and enacted racist policies like stop and frisk, which forced communities of color in his city to live in fear,” Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said during a dinner in Clark County, Nevada, on Saturday night. “We will not defeat Donald Trump with a candidate who opposed modest proposals during Barack Obama’s presidency to raise taxes on the wealthy, while advocating for cuts for Medicare and social security.”

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren didn’t mince her words when she spoke at an event held in a high school gymnasium in Northern Virginia last week.

“A video just came out yesterday in which Michael Bloomberg is saying, in effect, that the 2008 financial crash was caused because the banks weren’t permitted to discriminate against black and brown people. That crisis would not have been averted if the banks had been able to be bigger racists. And anyone who thinks that should not be the leader of our party,” said Warren.

Bloomberg and his campaign, however, seem unfazed by all the attention from the other Democratic candidates.

“Since Mike launched his campaign 13 weeks ago, he’s met with voters in 25 states and 62 cities. Our crowds continue to grow, and our coalition continues to broaden,” Sheekey said. “There’s a desire in every corner of this country for a proven leader, for someone who will stand up to bullies and special interests and get things done. That person is Mike Bloomberg, and we look forward to more Americans seeing that on Wednesday night.”

According to ABC News’ analysis, the other candidates who have also qualified are former Vice President Joe Biden, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sanders, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Warren.

The debate will take place at the Paris Theater in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

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