A little-known Democrat who has been running for president for almost 2 years is trying a wild scheme to try and get enough donations to qualify for the presidential debates

  • Presidential candidates will need to receive 65,000 individual donations to appear on the Democratic National Committee’s debate stage.
  • In a growing field of candidates, standing out can be difficult, making it a steep challenge to obtain enough individual donations.
  • Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney is getting creative by pledging to donate his personal money to charity with each new donation.

Getting a spot on the debate stage is proving to be a difficult task for many of the candidates in the 2020 presidential race, after the Democratic National Committee set requirements to qualify, including reaching a minimum of 65,000 individual donations.

This has prompted lesser-known candidates to get creative, like former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, who is now pledging to contribute his own personal money to charity when he receives a campaign donation.

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Delaney, who has been actively running for president since June 2017 and made dozens of trips to early voting states, announced on Thursday a new plan to boost campaign contributions.

“John Delaney will personally donate $2 dollars to non-profits and charities for each new donor that contributes to his campaign as part of the Delaney Debate Challenge, a new online program launched today,” the campaign said in a statement. “This initiative is in response to the DNC’s requirement that candidates have at least 65,000 donors. The Delaney Debate Challenge will apply to the next 100,000 new donors.”

The way it works is that no matter the amount an individual donates to Delaney’s campaign, he will chip in two dollars of his large personal wealth to a charity that donors can choose from a pre-approved list.

So whether you donate one dollar or maximum $2,800 allowed by the Federal Election Commission, Delaney will spend two dollars on the charity you select.

The charities donors can choose from include:

  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • CARA/Dilley Pro Bono Project
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Everytown for Gun Safety
  • Feeding America
  • The Fisher House Foundation
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund
  • Planned Parenthood
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Wounded Warrior Project

“This campaign isn’t about me, it’s about bringing people together and serving the common good,” Delaney said in statement. “The Delaney Debate Challenge is a way for us to highlight the incredible work done by charities and non-profits around the country as part of our larger effort to reach the 65,000 donor threshold being used for the debates.”

Delaney’s strategy is the newest from a handful of candidates looking to stand out in a crowded field. Other candidates, like outsider businessman Andrew Yang, have met the 65,000 donor threshold by online engagement and going viral.

Another hurdle that Yang, Delaney, and other candidates lacking strong name recognition will have to clear will be reaching at least one percent in three credible polls before the first debate. But for now, reaching the donor threshold is taking top priority.