WASHINGTON — It took awhile, but U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard finally hit her goal of 65,000 donors, enough to put her on the Democratic presidential debate stage come June.

The Hawaii congresswoman announced the achievement Wednesday via a campaign email.

The Democratic National Committee had set the 65,000 donor threshold as a means to weed out the large number of candidates with dreams of settling into the White House.

Gabbard’s announcement, however, did not say how much money she raised in the first quarter of 2019. She has until Monday to submit the numbers to the Federal Election Commission.

Other candidates in the Democratic presidential field have already shared their fundraising hauls from the first three months of 2019.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s an early frontrunner, said he raised $18.2 million while Kamala Harris, his Senate colleague from California, says she pulled in $12 million.

Other candidates who have released figures include Beto O’Rourke ($9.4 million), Peter Buttigieg ($7 million), Amy Klobuchar ($5.2 million), Cory Booker ($5 million) and Andrew Yang ($1.7 million).

One thing to watch is how Gabbard fares on a presidential debate stage.

In 2016, the congresswoman was critical of then-Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbit Wasserman-Schulz for not scheduling more presidential debates. At the time Gabbard was a vice chair of the DNC, which meant her comments got a lot of air time.

But her criticism was curious when put into context. Gabbard herself is a notorious debate dodger. The congresswoman hasn’t debated a single opponent, Democrat or Republican, ever since she was elected to Congress in 2012.

A Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll during the 2018 election found Gabbard’s refusal to debate her opponents doesn’t sit well with voters. Three-out-of-four respondents said she has an obligation to engage.

A good reason not to give

We know not everyone can afford to pay for news right now, which is why we keep our journalism free for everyone to read, listen, watch and share. 

But that promise wouldn’t be possible without support from loyal readers like you.

Make a gift to Civil Beat today and help keep our journalism free for all readers. And if you’re able, consider a sustaining monthly gift to support our work all year-round.



About the Author