Tulsi Gabbard likely to be excluded from next Democratic debate

Image: Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard holds a Town Hall meeting on March 3, 2020 in Detroit, Mich. Copyright Bill Pugliano Getty Images
By Alex Seitz-Wald with NBC News Politics
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For the first time, it will be just Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden on stage at a debate, which takes place on Sunday, March 15, in Phoenix.


WASHINGTON — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is almost certain to be excluded from the next presidential debate after the Democratic National Committee announced Friday that candidates will need to have at least 20 percent of all delegates awarded thus far to participate.

The 2020 Democratic primary has been whittled down to essentially a two-man race between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders after all the other candidates dropped out — except Gabbard, who remains an active candidate.

Gabbard has so far won just two delegates, from American Samoa, putting her well behind Biden's 596 delegates and Sanders' 528, according to the latest NBC News projections.

Another 352 delegates will be awarded in the next round of primaries on Tuesday, March 10, so even if Gabbard somehow won every single one of them, she would still be well behind Biden and Sanders.

Gabbard, who often claims the DNC and the mainstream media are out to get her, has not qualified for a debate since November.

The next debate will take place in Phoenix on Sunday, March 15, and will be hosted by CNN and Univision, along with CHC BOLD, the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

It will be the first time Biden and Sanders will be alone together on stage, marking a new phase in a race that started with the largest presidential primary field in history.

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