Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley on Friday chided executives at NBC for coming up with criteria for the next Democratic debate that could leave him off stage. The official said NBC would likely round O'Malley's total up if subsequent polls lowered his average a few tenths of a percent. Right now, he's averaging 3.2 percent in national polling, 2.4 percent in New Hampshire, and 1.8 percent in SC, when the most recent qualifying polls are considered.
An O'Malley staffer recently accused the media of wanting to focus only on Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, Yahoo reports.
"They're treating your presidential selection process as if it's another episode of 'The Apprentice.' Bad enough that we would be limited to four debates and that they would hide them on Saturdays behind football games", O'Malley said. "But now they tell us that they can't really manage, perhaps, a three-way race".
This puts O'Malley in jeopardy of being excluded from the debate since he has an average of less than 5 percent in national polls, New Hampshire and SC.
Following NBC's announcement, the other two Democratic challengers called for O'Malley to be included in the debate on Twitter.
Do you think Martin O'Malley will be excluded from the Democratic presidential debate?
The hours-long Democratic festivity was a notably loud affair thanks to the Bernie Sanders campaign, which passed out vuvuzelas to supporters.
That's a sharp contrast from the Republican field, which has featured in its debates eight or nine candidates in addition to an "undercard" debate for lower polling candidates.
Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz also tweeted Friday that she "expects" to see all three candidates in Charleston.
The NBC News debate will take place in Charleston, South Carolina on January 17, in partnership with YouTube, and will be hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute.