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Pete Buttigieg Will Be First Gay Candidate in Presidential Debates

Pete Buttigieg

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg this month will make history as the first out presidential candidate to appear in a major debate.

The Democratic National Committee on Thursday announced that 20 candidates will participate in the First Democratic Presidential Primary Debate, which will be held June 26 and 27 in Miami. South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg has officially made the list.

In fact, Buttigieg was one of 14 candidates who "double-qualified."

The DNC allowed candidates to qualify either by polling or grassroots fundraising. The polling qualification called for candidates hit 1 percent in three separate recognized polls before June 12. Candidates otherwise could make the stage by receiving donations from at least 65,000 unique donors, provided at least 200 of those came from 20 different states.

Buttigieg's campaign in March announced it met the donor threshold. As it turned out, Buttigieg quickly rose from a tier of minor candidates and has now been consistently polling in in third or fourth place.

Republican Fred Karger in 2012 became the first openly gay candidate from either political party to run for president. But as Karger wrote in an essay for The Advocate, he was denied entry into every Republican debate despite polling even at times with candidates like Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum.

Karger has since endorsed Buttigieg.

Other candidates to qualify are Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet; former Vice President Joe Biden; New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker; former HUD Secretary Julian Castro; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; California Sen. Kamala Harris; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders; California Rep. Eric Swalwell; Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren; author Marianne Williamson; and philanthropist Andrew Yang.

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