Less than a month away from the first Republican primary debate, six Republicans have met the qualifications to appear on the debate stage in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Former President Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and Tim Scott have all met the Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) polling and fundraising thresholds for the first debate, as POLITICO reported.
While he was not on POLITICO’s or other lists of potential eligible candidates, entrepreneur Doug Burgum’s campaign has now said he too qualifies for the debate, news echoed by CNN on July 25. CBS reported that his campaign announced he qualified after offering donors $20 gift cards for $1 donations. FiveThirtyEight previously showed that Burgum had met the donor requirement, but not the polling requirement.
NBC News is also reporting that Burgum appears to qualify for the Republican debate.
There is no guarantee that all candidates will appear.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel recently stated she wants all candidates who qualify to appear on the debate stage, explaining that the event represents a unique opportunity for Republicans to present policy proposals for an expected audience of 20 million viewers.
“Why wouldn’t we get in front of them before we go against Joe Biden? Joe Biden has the legacy media on his side. So leaving that opportunity aside and not getting on the debate stage is just more of an opportunity for Joe Biden to continue to get his message out,” McDaniel said.
"This is an opportunity for us to contrast our ideas versus the Democrats'." pic.twitter.com/4hKotN9NCy
— GOP (@GOP) July 19, 2023
Questions still remain as to whether Trump will appear, having been consistently advised to skip the event. Trump would be alongside candidates polling significantly lower than him within the party, leading staffers and observers to caution that he has little to gain and much to potentially lose by trading barbs in this primary debate.
According to the 270toWin national polling average, here is where the candidates currently stack up:
- Donald Trump (53.0%), former President
- Ron DeSantis (20.4%), Florida Governor
- Vivek Ramaswamy (4.8%), businessman
- Nikki Haley (3.4%), former UN Ambassador
- Tim Scott (3.0%), U.S. Senator, South Carolina
- Chris Christie (2.0%), former New Jersey Governor
Burgum was not listed on the polling average.
Candidates have until 48 hours before the event to decide and notify the RNC they will participate.
In order to qualify for the debate stage, each candidate must have at least 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state. Each person must also be polling at at least one percent in three national polls, or one percent in two national polls and one percent in an early state poll from two “carve out” states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) recognized by the RNC.
Also, each candidate must sign a pledge agreeing to share data, to not participate in any non-RNC sanctioned debate for the duration of the election cycle, and support the eventual party nominee.
Other presidential hopefuls who have announced their bid for the White House, but have yet to meet the thresholds to qualify in the debate include: South Carolina Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Vice President Mike Pence, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and former Texas congressman and CIA agent Will Hurd.