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Here Are the GOP 2024 Candidates Who Qualify for the First Debate

With the first Republican presidential debate a month and a half away, the line-up of candidates for the high-profile matchup will become increasingly clear.

To qualify for the debate, GOP candidates must meet a number of criteria as outlined by the Republican National Committee, including polling at 1% in three qualifying national polls or two national polls and one qualifying early-state poll. Candidates must also have earned funds from a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, with 200 unique donors in 20 or more states.

The RNC announced that Fox News will host the first GOP presidential primary debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Aug. 23, and the 2024 Republican National Convention will also be held in Milwaukee in July next year.

Reports of unconfirmed thresholds for candidates have been circulating as the 2024 presidential primaries near.

Axios reported that RNC officials have been discussing guidelines behind closed doors, writing that 50,000 donors will be needed for the second debate in California in September. RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel confirmed in April that the Golden State is set to be the second stop for GOP presidential hopefuls. While the third debate location remains unclear, Axios reported that 60,000 donors are allegedly required for the third debate in Alabama in October.

As the Aug. 23 debate nears, certain candidates have a clear spot on the debate stage, while others remain in limbo.

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump will meet the criteria to qualify for the debate, consistently polling as the Republican front-runner, although it is unclear what national polls the RNC will base its thresholds on.

However, Trump has indicated both publicly and privately that he may not participate in the first debate, pointing to his major lead in the polls, arguing that it’s unnecessary.

Sources close to the GOP front-runner have implied if he is absent on the debate stage come August, he may launch an event to counterprogram the debate.

An adviser told NBC last month that while Trump’s plans are not concrete, “If he does not debate, I doubt he’s staying home.”

The RNC will require all candidates to pledge to support the eventual Republican presidential nominee to qualify to take the debate stage, a promise Trump hasn’t committed to.

Trump, who refused to accept the 2020 election results making President Joe Biden victorious, has been hesitant to clarify if he’ll follow suit in the 2024 primaries.

Trump had reportedly raised $35 million during his second campaign quarter, around double the $18.8 million raised during the first quarter of the year.

Ron DeSantis

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has regularly sat in second place behind Trump in Republican primary polls, with a super PAC bringing in $130 million since the governor launched his campaign in March, informally meeting the requirements for qualifying for the debate.

DeSantis said Thursday that he will take the debate stage in August whether Trump participates or not.

“I’ll be there regardless,” DeSantis said. “I hope everybody who’s eligible comes. I think it’s an important part of the process, and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision, and our leadership to a wide audience.”

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence has been polling in the mid-to-upper single digits, and will likely qualify depending on his donor record, which has not been released. Pence joined the crowded presidential field last month after months of speculation.

Along with former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Pence has declared he will uphold the pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee.

Nikki Haley

Haley, who became the first major candidate to announce a run against Trump, has polled in the mid to upper single digits since launching her campaign in February.

Haley has met the donor threshold to qualify, with Ken Farnaso, press secretary for Haley, confirming numbers to the Washington Examiner Saturday, pointing to a press release from Haley’s first quarter records.

“Funding comes from 70,000 donations, including more than 67,000 donations from people who gave $200 or less,” the press release states. “Haley received support from all 50 states. Her top three fundraising states were South Carolina, Florida, and Texas.”

Haley has said she will uphold the RNC’s requirement of respecting the future Republican nominee.

“Absolutely irresponsible that Trump, DeSantis, and others won’t commit 100% to supporting the Republican nominee. There’s no room for personal vendettas in this battle to save our country,” Haley tweeted last month.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Vivek Ramaswamy, a political newcomer who made a name for himself in the biotech industry, has received political donations from more than 60,0000 individual donors, Tricia McLaughlin, the campaign communications director, confirmed to the Washington Examiner Saturday.

Ramaswamy commonly earns at least 1% in the polls, often falling in the low single digits but recently on the rise. Ramaswamy has shown consistent improvement in the last few weeks, with a Morning Consult poll from June 27 showing the entrepreneur at 6% among GOP voters.

“What I’ll say is, if the other candidates in this race make that pledge, I will stand by and be willing to, because that’s a condition for open debate in our own party,” he said to Fox News in February.

Tim Scott

Scott confirmed in June that he has met all the requirements to take the debate stage in August. Scott brought in more than $2 million in the 24 hours after starting his presidential run, and had $22 million from his Senate campaign prior to entering the race in May — the largest cash-on-hand figure of any candidate.

“All Republican candidates would be better than any Democrat candidate,” Scott said, verifying he will follow the loyalty pledge.

Other candidates, some newly entered, such as Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, have reached the 1% mark in some polls, but it remains unclear whether they will be taking the stage.

Two-term mayor of Miami Francis Suarez and former Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) have not made waves in national polls yet.

  • Karen says:

    I think that the above mentioned candidates will make for a very interesting debate, which is how we the people will decide who we want as our candidate; I have my “wish” list but the more you know!!!!

  • ChrisChristie IsAPig says:

    It looks like fat slob two-faced Chris Christie isn’t going to make it.

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