U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is pushing ahead with his 2020 campaign despite not qualifying for the first presidential primary debates later this month.
Twenty candidates, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, of Massachusetts, will take the stage in Miami June 26 and 27.
Moulton says the first debates are far from make it or break it since voters don't go to the polls until February. He points to past Presidents like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter who were at 1% or less at this point in their primaries.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
"I'm not disappointed because I knew that getting into the race so late, this was likely to happen. That was a calculated risk," Moulton said on Friday.
Moulton, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam did not make the debate threshold. In order to make the cut, candidates must be at least one percent in three public polls and receive contributions from 65,000 donors.
"Well, there are some polls that are just so few people that they're statistically insignificant," said Moulton. "I do well with people who know who I am but I’ve got to introduce myself to more Americans."
Moulton said he is not disparraged by those who say he has no chance of winning the race.
"People said that in my first race for Congress... I was 53 points down. And plenty of people told me to quit," he said. "I ended up winning that race by 11 points."
Political analyst Steve Kerrigan says Moulton is at least getting media attention for not being on the debate stage which in and of itself is valuable.
"This is by no means a death knell for his campaign," said Kerrigan. "He does have a very specific message that he is using in this campaign and I think that voice is important."
Still, Moulton has no major endorsements, no campaign staff or campaign offices in states like New Hampshire. So what is his path forward?
"I believe there's no better foil for Donald Trump than a young combat veteran. That's why I am in this race. I'm in it to take on Donald Trump. And I'm in it to win," said Moulton.
He says his unique message, running as a national security candidate, sets him apart. And he's moving full steam ahead with a trip to New Hampshire this weekend, in the hopes of being a part of the next debate in July.