Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro sent a campaign fundraising email Thursday warning supporters that his campaign will end if he does not make the next debate stage.

The former Housing and Urban Development secretary urged his supporters to fund emergency ads in order to ensure his spot on the debate stage.


“I don’t say this lightly: If I don’t make the next debate stage, it will be the end of my campaign,” according to the email obtained by The Hill.

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Castro said in the email his campaign team cautioned him in an emergency meeting that he needs more donations to continue the campaign. 

“They told me point blank: The DNC’s new debate threshold will be the end of the road if we can’t get more money in the door — immediately,” he said.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) upped the ante with new qualifications to reach the fifth debate, including getting at least 3 percent support in four or more polls.

The presidential candidate is asking for $5 from 500 donors before midnight to fund the ads to gain poll support. He estimates the ads could cost millions.  

Castro critiqued the DNC’s decision in the email, saying it privileged wealthy candidates. 

“I know this new debate threshold is designed to cut candidates like me from the running,” he said. “It’s designed for wealthy candidates with unlimited funds to blanket the airwaves with their message. But I wasn’t born into privilege like other candidates.” Castro spokesman Sawyer Hackett told The Hill he is “confident” Castro will make the debate stage.

“Secretary Castro has said from the start of this campaign that making the debate stage is critical to his success,” Hackett said. “We are confident he will make it, and are counting on the support of grassroots donors to get us there.”  Castro has lagged behind in polls, receiving single-digit percentage point support, while other front-runners such as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Joint Chiefs chairman says he regrets participating in Trump photo-op | GOP senators back Joint Chiefs chairman who voiced regret over Trump photo-op | Senate panel approves 0B defense policy bill Trump on collision course with Congress over bases with Confederate names MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) have been consistently scoring in the double digits.  —Updated at 2:21 p.m.