With two startling polling results released late Thursday afternoon, the billionaire former hedge fund executive Tom Steyer became the sixth candidate to qualify for next week’s Democratic presidential debate.
Mr. Steyer will join former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., and Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on the debate stage on Tuesday in Des Moines.
Mere hours earlier on Thursday, the chances of that seemed almost nonexistent: Mr. Steyer needed two more polls showing him with 5 percent support, or two polls of early-voting states showing him at 7 percent, and the qualification deadline was only a day away.
CBS News/YouGov polls released this week showed Mr. Steyer at 2 percent in Iowa and 3 percent in New Hampshire, while a Monmouth University poll released Thursday showed him at 4 percent in New Hampshire. But Nevada and South Carolina have a lot more black and Hispanic voters than Iowa and New Hampshire do, which can elevate different candidates.
In South Carolina, Mr. Steyer has spent about $11.2 million on television, cable and radio ads, accounting for about 65 percent of political advertising in the state’s four major media markets, according to Advertising Analytics.
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