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Here’s where 2024’s GOP presidential candidates stand on making the second debate stage


Daily Caller News Foundation

  • The Republican National Committee’s second presidential debate is next Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
  • After counter-programming during the first debate in late August, former President Donald Trump is skipping the second debate to visit former and current members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) in Detroit, Michigan.
  • Nine candidates say they’ve surpassed the RNC’s 50,000 unique donor threshold to qualify for the debate, and several appear to have hit the polling requirements, as well.

The Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) second GOP primary debate is next Wednesday, and several presidential hopefuls appear to have met the requirements to take the stage, while others’ standing remains uncertain.

The committee upped its donor and polling criteria for the second debate on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, making it more difficult for some to meet the benchmarks. While former President Donald Trump is skipping the second debate, as he did the first in late August, nine campaigns say they’ve surpassed the 50,000 unique donor threshold and several candidates appear to have met the polling benchmark.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and conservative radio personality Larry Elder have all exceeded the RNC’s donor requirement for the second debate, their respective campaigns confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum’s campaign announced it had surpassed 50,000 unique donors in a late July press release, as well as Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, according to a mid-August press release.

It is not clear whether former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who participated in the first debate, or former Texas Rep. Will Hurd have hit the RNC’s upped donor requirement for the second debate. Hurd previously said his campaign met the 40,000 unique donor threshold for the first debate, but did not make the stage due to the RNC’s polling requirement.

Along with Hutchinson, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, Haley, Pence, Christie, Scott and Burgum qualified for and participated in the RNC’s first debate on Aug. 23. The RNC disqualified Elder, Hurd, Johnson and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who has since suspended his presidential campaign, from the first debate for failing to meet the polling requirements, a source familiar with the committee’s qualification process previously told the DCNF.

Elder and Johnson threatened legal action against the RNC for keeping them from debating, and the conservative radio host filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against the committee.

“The RNC worked over two years to deliver a transparent and fair primary process that will put our eventual nominee in the best position to beat Biden,” RNC spokesman Keith Schipper previously told the DCNF in a statement. “Criteria to qualify for the first debate was clearly presented to campaigns and RNC leadership and members of the debate committee were in constant communication with candidates and campaigns throughout the qualifying period.”

For the first debate, candidates had to be polling at or above 1% in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and in two key early primary state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina. The RNC is now requiring GOP hopefuls receive at least 3% support in two national polls, or 3% in one national poll and in two key early primary state polls.

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Aug. 24 to Sept. 14, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by over 40 points, followed by DeSantis with 12.7%, Ramaswamy with 7.2%, Haley with 5.7% and Pence with 4.5%. All other GOP hopefuls garnered less than 3% support.

DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, Scott, Pence and Christie have exceeded 3% support in both a Morning Consult poll from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14 and a survey conducted by The Trafalgar Group from Aug. 14 to Aug. 16, according to FiveThirtyEight’s national survey compilation.

An Iowa survey conducted by The Trafalgar Group in mid-August suggests that DeSantis, Scott, Ramaswamy, Haley, Pence, Christie and Burgum have surpassed 3% support. In both New Hampshire and South Carolina, DeSantis, Ramaswamy, Scott, Christie and Haley received at least 3% support, but Pence and Burgum did not, according to mid-August surveys conducted by The Trafalgar Group.

There has not been any polling released from Nevada that would be recognized by the RNC, as the surveys must have been conducted by Aug. 1 and polled at least 800 likely GOP primary voters. The polls also cannot be affiliated with another presidential candidate in order to be considered eligible.

Burgum’s campaign told the DCNF he has met the two key early state poll requirements and is waiting on achieving 3% support in a national survey. Elder is still waiting to see whether he will achieve the upped polling threshold to make the debate stage, according to his campaign. It is not yet clear whether Hutchinson will meet the new polling criteria.

“We are a few hundred away from 50,000 unique donors and plan to cross that threshold before the second debate,” Natalie Johnson, communications director for Hurd, told the DCNF. “Congressman Hurd has said he would not sign the pledge as is. His issue is not with supporting the Republican nominee, it’s with supporting former president Trump. In terms of polling, we’ve hit the threshold in New Hampshire and are keeping an eye out on national and Iowa polling.”

The RNC pointed the DCNF toward the second debate criteria, and emphasized that candidates must meet the requirements within 48 hours of the debate upon request for comment. The loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee that was required for candidates to sign for the first debate also stands for the second debate.

Fox Business will host the second debate, and Fox News’ Dana Perino and Stuart Varney will moderate the event alongside Univision’s Ilia Calderón.

After Trump decided to skip the first debate and do an interview with DCNF co-founder Tucker Carlson, the former president will also do a counter-programming event in Detroit, Michigan, during the second debate. Trump will meet with former and current members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) after they announced a strike on Sept. 14.

Neither Hutchinson nor Johnson responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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