The Republican National Committee (RNC) has announced the list of candidates who will participate in the first presidential debate, and notably, former President Donald Trump has declined attending.
The RNC set specific criteria for candidates to qualify for the debate, including a donor threshold, minimum polling criteria, and a loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee.
The candidates who have met these requirements and will be participating in the debate are:
- 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
- Conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy
These candidates were required to have received a certain number of unique donors, with a specific distribution across different states or territories. Additionally, they needed to meet polling thresholds in national polls and, in some cases, early primary state polls recognized by the RNC.
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“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.”
Several other candidates, such as Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, conservative radio show host Larry Elder, Steve Laffey, and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, claimed that they had met the RNC’s requirements, but they were not included in the list of debate participants. Additionally, it’s noted that former Texas Rep. Will Hurd did not meet the requirements, and he had declined to sign the committee’s loyalty pledge.
Former President Donald Trump announced that he would not participate in the first two debates. Instead, he planned to join an interview with Tucker Carlson airing on the same day as the debate.
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