Joseph Sohm /

O’Malley on the Bubble for Next Democratic Debate

The former Maryland governor’s polling numbers barely meet the criteria for inclusion in the Jan. 17 event.

Could Mar­tin O’Mal­ley be the odd man out at next week’s Demo­crat­ic de­bate in South Car­o­lina?

Newly re­leased cri­ter­ia from NBC News, which is host­ing the de­bate, sug­gests he’s right on the cusp of the re­quired polling num­bers to par­ti­cip­ate in the Jan. 17 gath­er­ing in Char­le­ston, South Car­o­lina—but the Demo­crat­ic Na­tion­al Com­mit­tee said it ex­pects all three can­did­ates to ap­pear on stage.

NBC’s re­quire­ments say that in or­der to ap­pear in the de­bate, a can­did­ate must av­er­age at least 5 per­cent in the five most re­cent polls either na­tion­ally or in Iowa, New Hamp­shire, or South Car­o­lina.

Based on cur­rent polling, O’Mal­ley would only barely make the cut. His num­bers in re­cent polls are well be­low 5 per­cent na­tion­ally, as well as in New Hamp­shire and South Car­o­lina.

In Iowa, where the former Mary­land gov­ernor’s cam­paign has fo­cused the ma­jor­ity of its re­sources, he’s right on the edge: The five most re­cent polls that meet NBC’s stand­ards have O’Mal­ley at an av­er­age of ex­actly 5 per­cent. If his sup­port dropped between now and de­bate day, that could jeop­ard­ize his po­s­i­tion on stage de­pend­ing on how will­ing NBC is to round up.

O’Mal­ley’s cam­paign did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment, but the DNC in­dic­ated that O’Mal­ley, along with lead­ing Demo­crats Hil­lary Clin­ton and Bernie Sanders, would be in­cluded in the de­bate. “We ex­pect all three of our ma­jor can­did­ates on stage next Sunday in South Car­o­lina,” DNC com­mu­nic­a­tions dir­ect­or Lu­is Mir­anda told Na­tion­al Journ­al.

(Image via Joseph Sohm / )