Martin O'Malley Qualifies for NBC News Debate

Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley has qualified for Sunday's NBC News-YouTube debate, the network announced Thursday.

O'Malley's faltering poll numbers threatened to keep him from joining Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on stage for the fourth Democratic debate. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released this week found O'Malley at five percent support among likely caucus goers in Iowa, well behind Clinton (48 percent) and Sanders (45 percent).

To qualify, candidates needed to reach five percent in recent national polls or surveys of Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina.

The first Democratic debate of 2016 comes as Clinton and Sanders are locked in a hotly contested primary in Iowa and New Hampshire -- the first two contests of the primary.

The debate will air Sunday on NBC at 9:00 p.m. ET from Charleston, S.C.