Francis Suarez Claims He’s Qualified For First Debate — RNC Says No

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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GOP presidential candidate Miami Mayor Francis Suarez claimed Friday that he had met the criteria to make the first debate stage next week, but an official for the Republican National Committee (RNC) confirmed with the Daily Caller News Foundation he hasn’t yet.

The RNC is requiring candidates meet a 40,000 donor threshold, a polling requirement and sign a loyalty pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. Suarez announced he surpassed the contribution criteria while not specifically mentioning the other requirements, and the RNC quickly refuted his claims, insisting he hadn’t officially met their rules to debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 23.

“I am excited to announce that I have met all the criteria to qualify for the [GOP’s] first primary debate,” Suarez said in a statement. “While our campaign only began a few weeks ago, I am humbled knowing Republicans from all fifty states have donated to our campaign—nearly 50,000 thus far. Now, I will renew my efforts to tell America about how I used conservative ideas to turn Miami into a shining example of what our party can be. A party that cares and delivers. A party where your future is only limited by your own efforts.”

Suarez told The Associated Press he already met the donor requirement, but that he just achieved the polling threshold. The RNC notified Suarez via email on Thursday that he might meet their criteria before next Wednesday, and sent him tickets to reserve his spot on the stage in the event that he does, as well as the loyalty pledge, according to the AP.

The RNC didn’t explicitly tell Suarez that he had met the debate requirements, and notified him that if he doesn’t, the tickets will be revoked, according to the AP’s review of the email exchange.

A Thursday analysis from The Wall Street Journal indicated that Suarez had met neither the donor threshold nor the polling requirements. (RELATED: ‘I Would Be An Impossible Candidate … To Beat’: Longshot GOP Candidate Says He’d Win In A Landslide Against Biden)

To take the debate stage next Wednesday, GOP hopefuls had to be polling at 1% in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and two key early primary state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina. The surveys had to have been conducted on or after July 1, have at least 800 likely GOP primary voters and meet other criteria to be recognized by the RNC.

Suarez’ campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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