DemDaily: The Latest to Make the Debate Stage

May 10, 2019

Best-selling author, activist, spirtual guru and 2020 presidential contender, Marianne Williamson, is the latest to qualify for the Democratic debate stage.

Williamson is one of 21 candidates who have officially entered the race to become the next Democratic nominee, and two more aspirants are expected to declare in the next two weeks.

On May 9, 2019, Williamson reached the threshold of 65,000 unique contributors required to qualify for the first Democratic debate June 26th and 27th in Miami.

In becoming the 18th candidate to make the stage, Williamson, a longtime outlier, is emerging from the back of the pack.

In February, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced new primary debate qualifications -- requiring a candidate to have either reached 1% in three polls, or to have received contributions from at least 65,000 unique donors and a minimum of 200 unique donors in at least 20 US states.

Background
Williamson, 66, was born in Houston, Texas, the youngest of three children of Sophie Ann (Kaplan) and Sam Williamson, an immigration lawyer.
Pic: Amy Harris/Invision/AP

She studied theater and philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California for two years before moving to New York. In 1979, after delving into A Course in Miracles, a nonreligious spiritual self-study program, she returned to Houston, where she ran a metaphysical bookstore and coffeeshop.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1983, she began to regularly lecture on A Course in Miracles in major US cities and Europe.

Williamson's first book, A Return To Love, was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1992 and remained on The New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks. She has published 13 other books, seven of which have been on the Times' bestseller list, and four of which have been #1.

In 1989, Williamson founded Project Angel Food in Los Angeles County, a volunteer food delivery program that serves home-bound people with AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. The program serves over 600,000 meals each year.

Singer Alanis Morissette wrote and performed "Today," Williamson's 2014 US House campaign song (Click/Watch)

She also co-founded, in 2004, The Peace Alliance, a nonprofit grassroots education and advocacy organization that supports domestic and international peace building.

In 2006, a Newsweek magazine poll named her one of the 50 most influential baby boomers.

In 2014, Williamson ran unsuccessfully as an independent for
California's 33rd congressional district, finishing fourth out of 16 candidates.

She received endorsements from former Governors Jennifer Granholm and Jesse Ventura, former Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Alan Grayson, and political commentator Van Jones.

On January 29, 2019, Williamson formerly declared her candidacy for the White House.

"In order to override the real assault, the systemic assault on our democracy, we need to do more than fight, we need to fall in love again with what this country can mean." -- Marianne Williamson

Williamson's campaign, run by former Vice President Al Gore's then-National Political Director, Maurice Daniel, has staff in early primary states and California.

She ranks in the top six among presidential contenders in social media with 3.75 million followers.

Williamson Presidential Announcement (Click/Watch)

Williamson has one daughter, India, who is a professor in London.

WebsiteMarianne Williamson 2020
Williamson BooksA Politics of Love: A Handbook for a New American Revolution (April, 2019) and 13 others. See the list

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Sources: Williamson Campaign, Los Angeles Times, Houston Chronicle, LAWeekly, Politico, Wiki

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