Arjun Singh on August 18, 2023
Several high-profile candidates may not appear on stage for the first Republican presidential primary debate on Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after failing to meet the Republican National Committee’s requirements, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The debate, hosted by Fox News, is a highly-awaited event in the primary calendar and will be the first time that most GOP presidential candidates appear on stage together. Several candidates, however, will not be able to participate due to insufficient fundraising and public polling, which fail to meet the criteria set by the RNC for the event.
Former Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, one of the earliest candidates to announce his campaign, has not yet qualified after failing to meet fundraising requirements, according to The WSJ. Candidates were required to have at least 40,000 donors to their campaign, with 200 unique donors in 20 different states or territories, in order to qualify — but Hutchinson merely has 6,444 donors to his campaign.
“[Elder] is on track to qualify and is optimistic he’ll make the Debate,” a spokesperson for his campaign wrote to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Hutchinson’s campaign was sending $1 donation requests via text message to supporters in a last-ditch attempt to gain enough contributions to make the debate, according to a screenshot posted on Twitter. Hutchinson’s campaign has met the requirement that he receive at least 1% support in at least three national polls, or two national polls and one poll from two early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, the WSJ reported.
Apart from Hutchinson, two other known Republican candidates — conservative commentator Larry Elder and former Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas — have not yet qualified to be on stage. Neither Elder nor Hurd have met the polling or fundraising requirements, respectively, according to the WSJ.
Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, another candidate, has also not yet qualified for the debate, according to the WSJ. His campaign released a statement on Friday to the DCNF claiming that he had qualified and that he had nearly 50,000 donors, which was later contradicted by the RNC.
Another requirement for all candidates to appear on the debate stage is a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee, which several candidates have signed.
Trump, who leads second-place DeSantis by nearly 40% according to RealClearPolitics, has not indicated whether he will be present at the debate and has refused to say whether he’ll support the eventual nominee. Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota have qualified and signed the pledge, enabling them to appear, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Suarez, Hutchinson and Hurd’s campaigns did not immediately respond to a request for comment.