A look at the candidates eligible to participate in the first Republican presidential debate

A look at the candidates eligible to participate in the first Republican presidential debate

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — With less than a month left until a date The first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 campaignSeven candidates say they have met the qualifications for a spot on stage in Milwaukee.

But this also means that about half The broad field of the Republican Party Time is running out to make the cut.

To qualify for the August 23 debate, candidates had to meet ballot and donor requirements set by the Republican National Committee: at least 1% in three high-quality national polls or a combination of national and early state polls, between July 1 and August 21, and at least 40,000 donor, with 200 in 20 or more states.

A look at who’s in, who (maybe) out, and who’s still working on making it:

Who qualifies

Donald Trump

The current contestant has long since met the ballot and donor thresholds. But he is considering boycotting and holding a competitive event.

Campaign advisers said the former president has not made a final decision about the debate. One noted that it was “very clear,” based on Trump’s public and private statements, that he was unlikely to appear with the other candidates.

“If you drive a lot, what’s the point of doing it?” Trump asked at Newsmax.

Meanwhile, aides discussed possible alternate programming if Trump chose a competing event. One option Trump has floated is an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who now has a show on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.

Ron Deantis

The Florida governor has long been seen as Trump’s biggest challenger, finishing second to him by a wide margin in a series of polls in early-voting states, as well as national polls, and racking up an impressive amount of money.

But DeSantis’ campaign has struggled in recent weeks to live up to the high expectations that were awaiting him when he entered the race. He let go of more than a third of his staff as federal filings showed his campaign was burning through money at an unsustainable rate.

If Trump is absent, DeSantis could be the louder target on stage in the debate.

Tim Scott

The South Carolina senator was looking for the breakout moment. The first debate might be his chance.

A prolific fundraiser, Scott enters the summer with $21 million in cash on hand.

In one Iowa-approved poll, Scott joined Trump and DeSantis in reaching double digits. The senator has focused much of his campaign resources on the state of the Republican vote, which is dominated by white evangelical voters.

Nikki Haley

She stunned early voting states with her campaign events, and her electoral successes saw her unseat the incumbent Rep. in South Carolina and then become the state’s first woman and first minority governor. Haley has also served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations for nearly two years, and frequently cites her international experience, arguing about the threat China poses to the United States.

Haley, the only woman in the GOP race, has said that trans students competing in sports is “the women’s issue of our time” and has drawn praise from a leading anti-abortion group, who called her “uniquely gifted at communicating from a pro-life women’s perspective” .

Raising $15.6 million since the start of her campaign, Haley’s campaign says it has “more than 40,000 unique donors” and has met the requirements for debate polls.

Vivek Ramaswamy

The biotech entrepreneur and author of “Woke, Inc: Inside Corporate’s Social Justicerase” is a crowd favorite in multi-candidate events and polled well despite not being nationally known when he entered the race.

Ramaswamy’s campaign says he met the donor threshold earlier this year. He recently rolled out “Vivek’s Kitchen Cabinet” to increase donor numbers even further, by allowing fundraisers to keep 10% of what they bring in to his campaign.

Chris Christie

The former New Jersey governor opened his campaign by portraying himself as the only candidate willing to take on Trump. Christie called on the former president to “appear at the debates and defend his record.”

Christie’s would be on that platform, even if Trump wasn’t, telling CNN this month that he passed “40,000 unique donors in just 35 days.” It also met the ballot requirements.

Doug Bergum

Burgum, a wealthy former software entrepreneur who is now in his second term as governor of North Dakota, is using his wealth to further his campaign.

He announced a program this month to give out $20 gift cards — “Biden Relief Cards,” as criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy — to up to 50,000 people in exchange for $1 donations. Critics questioned whether the show violated campaign finance law.

Within about a week of launching the effort, Burgum announced that it had crossed the donor threshold. Advertising blitzes in early-voting states also helped him meet ballot requirements.

Who did not qualify:

Mike Pence

Trump’s vice president has met the ballot threshold but hasn’t amassed enough donors, raising the possibility that he may not be eligible to participate in the party’s first debate.

Pence and his advisors expressed confidence that he would, noting that it took a month or two for most other Republican candidates to be viable candidates to meet the mark. Pence entered the race on June 7, the same day as Burgum and one day after Christie’s.

“We’re making amazing progress toward that goal. We’ll do it,” Pence told CNN in a recent interview. I’ll see you on this discussion stage.”

Asa Hutchinson

According to his campaign, the former two-term Arkansas governor has met ballot requirements but is working to meet a donor threshold. As of Wednesday, Hutchinson has identified more than 11,000 unique donors.

Hutchinson runs along the lines of an old-school Republican and has distinguished himself from many of his Republican rivals in his willingness to criticize Trump. He posted pleas on Twitter for $1 donations to help secure his spot.

Francis Suarez

The mayor of Miami has been one of the most creative candidates in his efforts to increase donor numbers. He offered a chance to watch Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi make his debut as an Inter Miami player, saying donors who gave $1 would stand a chance at first-row tickets.

Still shy of his donor threshold, he took a page from Burgum’s playbook by offering a $20 “Bidenomics Relief Card” for $1 donations. The Super Political Action Committee supporting Suarez has launched a sweepstakes for a chance to win up to $15,000 in tuition, for a $1 donation to Suarez’s campaign.

Suarez’s campaign did not respond to a message asking for details on the number of donors or eligible polls.

Larry Elder

The conservative radio host wrote in an editorial that the RNC “has rigged the rules of the game by laying out a set of standards so cumbersome and poorly designed that only establishment- and billionaire-backed candidates are guaranteed to be on stage.”

His campaign last week declined to provide details on the number of donors, saying only that there had been a “strong increase in the last few weeks”. Did not meet the polling requirements.

Perry Johnson

Johnson, a wealthy but largely unknown businessman from Michigan, said in a recent social media post that he has secured 23,000 donors and is “confident” he will start the debate. He added that all donors are “eligible to attend my free concert in Iowa featuring” great country duo & Rich next month.

Johnson, who reached the 1% mark in one of the eligible polls, offered to give copies of his book “Two Years to Save America” ​​to anyone who donated to his campaign.

you will injure

The former Texas congressman — the last candidate to enter the race, on June 22 — has said repeatedly that he would not pledge to endorse the GOP nominee in the end, a stance that would keep him off the stage even if he had the eligible donor and the ballot. Preparation.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

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