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New DNC debate rules open door for Bloomberg to make stage

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By Alex Seitz-Wald  with NBC News Politics
Image: US-VOTE-2020-DEMOCRATS-DEBATE
Democratic presidential hopefuls U.S. author and writer Marianne Williamson, former Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, US attorney and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg, former US Vice President Joseph R. Biden, US   -   Copyright  Saul Loeb AFP - Getty Images

New Democratic National Committee debate qualification rules will provide a path for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to participate in the party's Feb. 19 debate, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC at Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

The new rules will require candidates to get at least one delegate out of either the upcoming Iowa caucuses or New Hampshire primary, or to register 10 percent support in four national polls or 12 percent in two single-state polls of Nevada and South Carolina.

The party scrapped, for the first time, the grassroots donor threshold, which has required candidates in every other debate thus far to received donations from tens of thousands of supporters to qualify. That opens the door to Bloomberg, a multi-billionaire who is funding his own campaign has reused to accept any donations for his campaign.

"Now that the grassroots support is actually captured in real voting, the criteria will no longer require a donor threshold," said DNC spokesperson Adrienne Watson.

"The donor threshold was appropriate for the opening stages of the race, when candidates were building their organizations and there were no metrics available outside of polling to distinguish those making progress from those who weren't."