WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, inching up in the polls of the Democratic presidential primary race, has now qualified for a candidate debate in December.
The Minnesota senator clinched the spot Wednesday with a 5% showing in a Quinnipiac University poll of Iowa. That’s Klobuchar’s best showing to date in the Hawkeye State, whose first-in-the-nation caucus is pivotal to her presidential hopes next year.
That’s the fourth national or early-state poll in which Klobuchar did well enough to meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling criteria for the December debate, set for Dec. 19 in Los Angeles. She had already met the DNC’s fundraising criteria.
Klobuchar also registered a 5% showing in a CNN/University of New Hampshire poll of that state, whose primary is eight days after the Iowa caucuses.
Klobuchar had previously qualified for the Nov. 20 debate in Atlanta. That will put her among a small group of Democratic contenders who will have qualified for all six Democratic debates in 2019.
The criteria for inclusion is expected to become more stringent for a planned January debate.
“Amy looks forward to sharing her optimistic agenda on stage and showing how she will be the president not for half of America, but all of America,” campaign manager Justin Buoen said in a statement.
Klobuchar’s polling still has consistently trailed the race’s leaders, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Failure to qualify for debates was a death knell for the campaigns of several former Democratic candidates.