Why Aren’t Beto O’Rourke & Julian Castro in the Debate Tonight?

Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro

Getty Beto O'Rourke and Julian Castro

Tonight is the Democratic debate, but why aren’t Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro in the debate tonight? Where are they? They’re both absent tonight but for different reasons. O’Rourke ended his campaign recently and is no longer running for President. Castro, meanwhile, didn’t meet the poll qualifications to be in tonight’s debate.

Beto O’Rourke Ended His Campaign

GettyBeto O’Rourke

Beto O’Rourke officially dropped out of the race on November 1. He said that he has no plans on running for Congress or any other political office in 2020. He tweeted, in part: “I am grateful to all the people who made up the heart and soul of this campaign. You were among the hundreds of thousands who made a donation, signed up to volunteer or spread the word about this campaign and our opportunity to help decide the election of our lifetime.”

O’Rourke hasn’t endorsed a candidate. He simply tweeted that he wants to work to ensure that whoever is the nominee is successful in defeating Trump.

Within hours of his announcement, his subreddit was shut down, much to his followers’ heartache. They went to the subreddit hoping to share in their grief, only to find it had been made private by moderators following trolls descending on the discussions. The subreddit was briefly brought back in a limited form, but now it’s private yet again.

Some supporters are now going to r/BetoORourke to discuss all things related to Beto. The subreddit is here. This subreddit doesn’t have the same interaction as the other, but it’s a good place for supporters to go who still want to talk about Beto.

Julian Castro Didn’t Meet the Poll Qualifications


Although 10 people qualified for tonight’s debate, Castro wasn’t among them.

To qualify for tonight’s debate, candidates had to poll at 3 percent or higher for four qualifying early-state or national polls, or they must poll at 5 percent or higher in two early-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina. They must also receive donations from 165,000 unique donors, which includes at least 600 individual donors in at least 20 states.

Castro was able to meet the donation requirements, but he couldn’t meet the polling requirements. He let go some staff members in early-primary statements, U.S. News reported, but he is still running for President and hasn’t ended his campaign. In fact, despite not qualifying for the debate which will be held in Atlanta, he’s still going to be in Atlanta, Dallas News reported. He arrived on November 19 and taped a podcast at a historic restaurant in the region. About 100 people attended.

December will be even tougher to qualify for. A candidate must get at least 4 percent in four qualifying polls (nationally or in early voting states)  between October 16 and December 12, or at least 6 percent in two early state polls (that’s Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada.) They must also have donations from at least 200,000 unique donors, which includes 800 unique donors in at least 20 states.

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