To kick off the upcoming 2024 presidential election cycle, the Republican National Committee unveiled requirements for candidates to participate in the first debate, scheduled to take place on Aug. 23, and hosted by Fox News.
The RNC’s announcement comes as several well-known Republican figures have already thrown their hats into the ring, including former President Donald Trump, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, media personality Larry Elder, and tech mogul Vivek Ramaswamy.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum are expected to join the race soon.
The RNC set specific criteria that candidates must meet in order to secure a spot on the debate stage. According to a report from The Hill, candidates must attain at least 1% support in three different national polls,
Alternatively, they can reach 1% in two national polls and one poll from an early primary state, which could be Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada.
The polls must survey a minimum of 800 registered likely Republican voters on or after July 1 and cannot be conducted by an entity associated with any of the candidates.
Candidates who meet the requirements will be arranged on the debate stage based on the polling, with the candidate with the highest polling getting center stage.
In addition, the RNC has set fundraising benchmarks for candidates. To be considered qualified for the debate, candidates must have at least 40,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 unique donors from at least 20 states and territories. The requirements are meant to ensure candidates have a broad enough base of support.
The RNC has also introduced two provisions: All participants in the debate will be required to sign a pledge to support the eventual nominee of the party. Candidates must also agree not to participate in any debates that are not officially sanctioned by the RNC.
These rules may be challenging for former Trump, who has hinted he may skip the first debate.
The second GOP debate is tentatively set for the next day, Aug. 24, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.