One of the biggest questions about tonight’s Democratic debate in South Carolina is just who is in the audience. Viewers are commenting on Twitter about the applause that Mike Bloomberg is getting, for example, in comparison to other candidates. It turns out that the audience members paid a lot of money to watch the debate tonight.
The Charleston County Democratic Party’s website once noted that guaranteed tickets were only available to sponsors of the debate, Live 5 News reported. Sponsorship, guaranteeing seating at some “First in the South” events, cost 1,750 to $3,200.
Charleston County Democratic Party Chair Colleen Condon told Live 5 News that events like the debate are set up for sponsors because attendance is so limited for a small venue. She said New Hampshire and Iowa’s debates were similar.
Post and Courier also reported that “VIPs and sponsors” made up the audience for the debate tonight.
Campaigns were able to get an unknown number of tickets to hand out to supporters. Exactly how this was distributed isn’t known as of the time of publication.
Still, people on Twitter are commenting about how much applause Mike Bloomberg is getting compared to previous debates and even compared to other candidates. They’re wondering if he bought more tickets than others did. But what we know about the audience so far is that most tickets were very expensive, and each campaign was given an unknown number of tickets to give to their own supporters.
Here are some comments on Twitter about the crowd.
People are joking about how the people who bought the expensive tickets might be the ones booing for Sanders.
According to Election Central, the Democratic National Committee handles how “seating information” and the state party is the only contact for getting tickets. This is the same for each debate.
This is a developing story.