In this April 3, 2019, photo, Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks during the National Action Network Convention in New York. The Democratic National Committee is upping the ante for its second round of presidential primary debates, doubling the polling and grassroots fundraising requirements from its initial summer debates. The parameters, announced Wednesday, May 29, 2019, are likely to help cull a crop of nearly two dozen candidates and, in the process, intensify scrutiny on Democratic Chairman Perez and his pledge to give all candidates a chance to be heard. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

DNC chairman: Debate rules fair despite candidate complaints

June 06, 2019 - 4:02 pm

ATLANTA (AP) — Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez says qualifications for upcoming presidential primary debates are fair even if some candidates are complaining.

Perez said Thursday that candidates have plenty of time to meet higher polling and donor thresholds announced recently for the third and fourth debates in September and October.

The new marks double the qualifying minimums for June and July debates. Perez notes those rules will result in a maximum 20 candidates — or close to it — on stage.

The chairman says it's "not a new concept" to require candidates to "demonstrate progress" as the presidential race moves closer to caucuses and primaries.

Perez also defended his and TV networks' rejections of calls for single-issue debates. He says candidates must show voters the versatility they should expect from presidents.