Part of the vetting process by the American people seems to be taking place recently, with some potential voters watching closely the interviews of Republican presidential candidates by Tucker Carlson at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa this week.
Only a handful of the candidates have confirmed their status of reaching the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) requirements to attend primary debates since the end of the second fundraising quarter closed on June 30; they include former South Carolina governor and UN ambassador Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former President Donald Trump, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
As a reminder, here are the RNC’s benchmarks for the debate taking place in August:
In addition to meeting the standard candidate qualification legal requirements, participants must meet the following:
Candidates must poll at one percent (at least) in three national polls or two national and one early state polls. (Further stipulations regarding the polls include a minimum of 800 likely Republican voters surveyed and that the polls not be conducted by a polling company affiliated with a candidate or candidate committee.
Candidates must have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20-plus states and/or territories.
Candidates must sign a pledge agreeing not to participate in any non-RNC-sanctioned debate for the remainder of the election cycle, a pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee, and the RNC data-sharing agreement.
But one of the obvious names missing from that list was that of former Vice President Mike Pence. Several readers and others mentioned the glaring omission. Now, we might know why, as his camp released on Friday how his fundraising looks after about three weeks on the trail:
Former Vice President Mike Pence was among several 2024 Republican presidential candidates who released lackluster second-quarter fundraising reports on Friday raising doubts about their ability to qualify for the first primary debate next month.
Pence has raised a mere $1.2 million for his presidential campaign in the three weeks since launching his White House bid, according to reports.
Combined with the roughly $2.6 million reportedly raised by Committed to America, a super PAC aligned with the former vice president, Pence’s second quarter totals amount to just $3.8 million, far less than his top opponents.
Pence’s team also admitted that he’s falling short on another crucial qualification to appear on the debate stage:
Pence has also failed to receive donations from 40,000 individual donors, an aide told the New York Times on Friday, meaning he has not yet reached the threshold required by the Republican National Committee….
Even former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is doing marginally better than Pence in raising cash, especially by the super PAC supporting him:
Chris Christie’s presidential campaign will report raising $1.65 million in the second quarter, which included the former New Jersey governor’s first 25 days in the 2024 campaign.
The campaign has $1.59 million cash on hand and no debt. And it’s touting support from more than 40,000 donors so far across all 50 states. Sources familiar with Christie’s 2016 campaign noted that it attracted 16,000 donors over the course of the entire campaign. […]
In addition, the super PAC aligned with Christie, Tell It Like It Is PAC, said it raised nearly $5.9 million between the former governor’s campaign announcement on June 6 and the close of the second quarter on June 30.
NBC News points out why Christie’s fundraising might be of special interest to the Pence team—two of his major donors, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Kentucky Republican donors Kelly and Joe Craft, are also Pence donors.