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Jay Inslee hits 65,000 donors for his presidential campaign, meeting requirement for first debate

In this May 13 photo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks in Olympia, Wash. (Rachel La Corte / Associated Press)
In this May 13 photo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee speaks in Olympia, Wash. (Rachel La Corte / Associated Press)
By Jim Brunner Seattle Times

Gov. Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign has surpassed 65,000 individual donors from across the country, all but guaranteeing him a spot in the first Democratic debate in late June.

Jared Leopold, a campaign spokesman, confirmed Inslee reached the donor milestone on Friday. He said the campaign has seen “a flurry” of donations since Inslee began rolling out details of his climate agenda on May 3.

That platform includes a $9 trillion plan to transition the U.S. from fossil fuels to clean energy over a decade. It drew praise last week from “Green New Deal” champion U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., who tweeted that Inslee’s plan was “the most serious + comprehensive” offered by a 2020 presidential candidate.

Inslee, who was campaigning in Las Vegas on Friday, announced the news to a “Sunrise Movement” rally of youth activists demanding action on climate.

“So we can now tell you that because I will be on the stage on the debates in June, climate change will be on the debates in June, the Sunrise Movement will be on the debates in June, and the climate strikers are going to be on the debate stage in June,” he said, according to a release from his campaign.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has set minimum donor and polling requirements for candidates to make the debate stage. Inslee earlier had cleared the fairly low polling bar, hitting 1 percent support in three qualifying polls.

He might have made the debate based on that result alone. Hitting the donor mark, which specifies 65,000 individuals with at least 200 from 20 states, gives him extra insurance.

POLITICO reported Inslee is the 13th Democratic candidate to “double qualify” for the debate by hitting both the donor and polling thresholds. That includes better-known contenders such as former vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, and South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

It also includes Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, self-help author Marianne Williamson and tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

The first debate round will take place in Miami on June 26 and 27, with up to 20 candidates randomly divided into two groups, half appearing each night.

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