Mary Lou Masters on August 22, 2023
The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Monday evening the eight candidates that will take the first presidential debate stage tomorrow night, with former President Donald Trump notably not on the list.
The RNC required all candidates to meet a 40,000 unique donor threshold, meet certain minimum polling criteria, and sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee. Despite several campaigns claiming it had met those rules, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy are the only candidates who will participate Wednesday evening in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to an RNC press release.
“The RNC is excited to showcase our diverse candidate field and the conservative vision to beat Joe Biden on the debate stage Wednesday night,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “I’d like to thank the RNC’s debate committee Chairman Dave Bossie and Co-Chair Anne Hathaway and our debate partners, Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble for their work to kick off the primary process that will put our Party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House next fall.”
Candidates had to have received 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 being from 20 different states or territories; they also had to have been polling at or above 1% in three national polls, or 1% in both two national polls and in two key early primary state polls. The surveys also had to have been recognized by the RNC, completed on or by July 1 and polled at least 800 likely GOP primary voters.
The campaigns of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, conservative radio show host Larry Elder and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson all previously claimed they had met the RNC’s requirements, according to press releases from the respective candidates. It is unclear whether former Texas Rep. Will Hurd met the donor and polling requirements, but he has repeatedly said he wouldn’t sign the committee’s loyalty pledge.
Trump announced he will not participate in the first two debates, and instead joined Daily Caller News Foundation co-founder Tucker Carlson for an interview that will be aired tomorrow.