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Did American Samoa just help Tulsi Gabbard qualify for the next Democratic debate?

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard got her first delegate on Tuesday in American Samoa.

HAWAII, Hawaii — As Super Tuesday was getting into swing, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard snagged her first delegate in the U.S. territory of American Samoa. 

Social media had a lot of thoughts at the prospect that her delegate win could help the Hawaii congresswoman be able to participate in the next Democratic debate on March 15 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Despite being born in American Samoa, Gabbard was projected to place in second behind former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. But, projections had Gabbard getting enough of the vote to earn at least one delegate. 

While the rules of the next debate haven't been released by the Democratic National Convention, the most recent requirements to participate in a debate included receiving one pledged delegate to the Democratic National Convention from one of the three preceding early states or scoring 10% in four polls approved by the DNC. 

Now, Gabbard has one delegate. So, will she be able to participate in the next debate? 

Because the rules to qualify for the next debate haven't been released, it's possible but the Democratic National Committee's communications director seemed to push back on a lot of that speculation Tuesday night. 

Xochitl Hinojosa tweeted that there are still two more debates, and "of course the threshold will go up."

"By the time we have the March debate, almost 2,000 delegates will be allocated. The threshold will reflect where we are in the race, as it always has," she said.

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Gabbard hasn't been in several recent debates because she wasn't able to meet the requirements. However, she has said she would stay in the race until the convention in July.

Credit: AP
Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, speaks during the McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Dinner, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Around 7:30 p.m. ET, Gabbard spoke at a town hall in Detroit, Michigan.

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