New GOP Requirements For Second Debate Spells Bad News For 2024 Republican Longshots

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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The Republican National Committee’s (RNC) new criteria for the second presidential primary debate in September will likely decrease the 2024 longshot candidates’ chances at making the stage.

For the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the RNC is requiring that contenders surpass a 40,000 unique donor threshold, meet polling criteria and sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee. The RNC is increasing the donor and polling criteria for the Sept. 27 debate in Simi Valley, California, which could significantly narrow the field as many have already struggled to meet the first debate requirements, the Daily Caller News Foundation confirmed with a person familiar with the plans.

To qualify for the second debate, candidates must now surpass a 50,000 unique donor threshold, with at least 200 coming from 20 states or territories, within 48 hours of taking the stage, according to the person familiar with the plans.

The RNC will also require the 2024 hopefuls to receive a minimum of 3% support in two national primary polls, or 3% in one national poll and in two key early primary state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, according to the person familiar. For the first debate, candidates only had to hit 1% in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and in two key early primary state polls.

The surveys must be recognized by the RNC, as required by the first debate criteria, including having a sample size of at least 800 likely Republican primary voters and not conducted by polling firms affiliated with any GOP presidential candidate, according to the person familiar with the plans. The surveys must have been completed on or after August 1st, and candidates are required to meet the polling criteria within 48 hours of the second debate.

The pledges required to make the first debate stage stand for the second debate, including the loyalty pledge and one promising not to participate in other debates not held by the RNC.

Politico first reported the RNC’s new requirements for the second debate on Tuesday. (RELATED: Here’s Where 2024 GOP Candidates Stand On Making The Debate Stage Next Month)

Many Republican presidential hopefuls have struggled to make the first debate requirements, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Suarez’ super political action committee, SOS America, has been offering contributors who donate $1 to be entered in a contest to win a year of college tuition. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who has now met the RNC’s first debate criteria, was giving out $20 gift cards for donors who gave as little as $1.

Along with Burgum, former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have also met the requirements to make the first debate stage, according to Politico.

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