Tulsi Gabbard Likely Absent From Democratic Debate After DNC Announces New Rules for Arizona

New criteria released by the Democratic National Committee Friday placed the emphasis on delegate count for qualification for the upcoming Democratic debate in Arizona.

"To meet the Delegate Threshold for the Arizona Debate, candidates must have been allocated at least 20% of the total number of pledged delegates allocated," the DNC said in a statement sent to Newsweek on Friday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden currently holds 652 delegates after his victories on Super Tuesday, according to information from the Associated Press. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has 573 delegates. The only other candidate remaining in the Democratic race is Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, who currently holds two delegates.

In order to be considered for the Democratic Party's nomination for the presidency, a candidate must obtain at least 1,911 delegates.

According to the DNC's qualifications, the number of delegates already gained by Democrats in previously held contests will be added together with the number of delegates up for grabs in the upcoming primaries and caucuses expected to occur before the debate on March 15 and a percentage of delegates for each candidate will be taken. That represents a number from 28 U.S. states and territories.

Gabbard addressed the new debate qualifications Friday on Twitter incorporating the hashtag #LetTulsiDebate, saying the DNC changed the criteria "arbitrarily."

"To keep me off the stage, the DNC again arbitrarily changed the debate qualifications," Gabbard continued. "Previously they changed the qualifications in the OPPOSITE direction so Bloomberg could debate. I ask that you stand w/ me against the DNC's transparent effort to exclude me from the debates."

".@JoeBiden @BernieSanders I'm sure you would agree that our Democratic nominee should be a person who will stand up for what is right," Gabbard continued. "So I ask that you have the courage to do that now in the face of the DNC's effort to keep me from participating in the debates. #LetTulsiDebate"

Newsweek reached out to the Gabbard campaign for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Gabbard is the only woman running for president since Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren exited the race Thursday. However, Gabbard's campaign seems to have taken a backseat to Gabbard's recent lawsuits against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and tech giant Google.

tulsi gabbard
Democratic presidential candidate Representative Tulsi Gabbard may not qualify for the next Democratic debate expected to be held in Arizona. Bill Pugliano/Getty

After Clinton implied on a podcast that Gabbard was a "Russian asset," Gabbard filed a defamation of character lawsuit against Clinton in January. During the podcast appearance, Clinton did not specifically name Gabbard.

Gabbard blamed Clinton for attempting to destroy her reputation in October 2019 on Twitter, telling Clinton to "join the race directly."

"Great! Thank you @HillaryClinton," Gabbard tweeted. "You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted reputation to destroy my reputation."

"We wondered who was behind it and why," Gabbard continued. "Now we know — it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine, afraid of the threat I pose."

"It's now clear that this primary is between you and me," Gabbard added. "Don't cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly."

Gabbard filed suit against Google in July 2019 after her internet advertising campaign was suspended for approximately six hours. Claiming the suspension infringed upon her right of free speech, Gabbard sued the company for $50 million.

"Google's arbitrary and capricious treatment of Gabbard's campaign should raise concerns for policymakers everywhere about the company's ability to use its dominance to impact political discourse, in a way that interferes with the upcoming 2020 presidential election," read the lawsuit in part.

Gabbard's lawsuit was dismissed Thursday by California federal Judge Steven Wilson.

"Google does not hold primaries, it does not select candidates, and it does not prevent anyone from running for office or voting in elections," Wilson wrote in his ruling. "To the extent Google 'regulates' anything, it regulates its own private speech and platform."

Tulsi Gabbard Likely Absent From Democratic Debate After DNC Announces New Rules for Arizona | U.S.