The landscape of probable candidates is coming into focus as the clock counts down to the first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 campaign. Eight candidates have declared their candidacy for the forthcoming debate in Milwaukee, but a few more in the large GOP field face an uphill climb to get on stage.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has established tough conditions for debate participation, including polling and donor requirements. Candidates must receive at least 1% support in three high-quality nationwide surveys or a mix of national and early-state polls conducted between July 1 and August 21 in order to qualify. Candidates must also raise a minimum of 40,000 contributors, with at least 200 donors from 20 or more states.
Here’s a rundown of who’s in, who’s almost in, and who’s still fighting for a spot:
Who is Eligible:
Mr. Donald Trump: The current front-runner has easily met the polling and fundraising standards. However, there is talk that he may choose to skip the discussion and hold a separate event instead. Ron DeSantis: The Florida governor, who is frequently viewed as Trump's primary competitor, meets the qualifications but has recently suffered campaign obstacles including as staff shakeups and financial issues. Tim Scott: A prodigious fundraiser, the South Carolina senator is eager to make a big impact during the debate and has a sizable war chest. Nikki Haley: The former UN ambassador has satisfied the standards and is the only woman in the GOP contest, thanks to a strong campaign presence and fundraising efforts. Vivek Ramaswamy: Despite being a lesser-known biotech entrepreneur and author, he polled highly and met the donation criterion. Chris Christie: Even if Trump does not appear, the former New Jersey governor is set to be on stage and has already crossed the 40,000 donor mark. Doug Burgum: North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's sophisticated ad campaigns and fundraising efforts have allowed him to meet both polling and donor standards. Mike Pence: The former vice president originally struggled with donor numbers, but he was able to meet the threshold in time for the debate.
Who has not yet qualified:
Asa Hutchinson: The former Arkansas governor has satisfied the polling threshold but is still looking for contributors. Francis Suarez: The mayor of Miami has used unconventional methods to increase contributor numbers, such as selling event tickets, and is closing in on the required number of donors. Elder, Larry: The conservative radio presenter has criticized the criteria yet has failed to meet the polling requirements and has not provided donor information. Mr. Perry Johnson: Johnson, a lesser-known businessman from Michigan, has crossed the donation barrier and is optimistic of making it to the debate stage. Will Hurd: The former Texas congressman, who entered the race in June, has stated that he will not commit to supporting the eventual GOP winner, which would rule him out of the race regardless of whether he meets the qualifications.
The political scene is dynamic and unpredictable as contenders fight against the clock to secure their positions in the impending debate. The debate will be an important opportunity for candidates to exhibit their policies, vision, and ability to connect with voters, defining the trajectory of the Republican primary race in 2024.