Tim Ryan: Spread Democratic Debates Over Three Nights

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Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, has a message for the Democratic National Committee: air the presidential debates over three nights so that less-known candidates like himself can participate.

Ryan, who is one of 20 candidates to fail to qualify for the DNC’s first debate, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday that “My opinion would be, do three nights to have everybody on there. Do seven or eight persons a night — give people more time and let it play out.”

He added, “I don’t think we need to be winnowing the field this early myself. I mean, I think Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada — they should winnow the field.”

The DNC plans on holding its first debate over two nights at the end of the month, with 10 candidates participating. Among the candidates to not qualify are Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton; Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam; and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

Ryan took issue with one of the DNC’s two requirements for qualification. Candidates must secure either 1 percent in three polls from accepted sources, or raise at least 65,000 contributions, 200 of which must come from 20 different states.

“I don’t think the small-dollar donation idea is really the best,” the congressman said. “I think it’s having a lot of unintended consequences now, to where people are raising lots of money and then spending 25 to 50, some are saying up to $75 to get a $1 contribution.”


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