Seven Republican presidential candidates are officially slated to take to the debate stage Wednesday night, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Monday.
GOP presidential hopefuls needed to reach fundraising and polling requirements set by the RNC and sign a loyalty pledge vowing to support the eventual Republican nominee in the general election to secure a spot on the debate stage.
The RNC revealed Monday evening that seven candidates had qualified, down from the eight who met the criteria last month.
The candidates who qualified are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson did not make the list despite qualifying for the first debate. He said in a statement that he failed to meet the polling threshold set by the RNC to take the stage in Simi Valley, Calif.
“Despite falling short of the RNC’s polling requirement for inclusion in the second Presidential Primary Debate, I will continue our campaign to bring out the best of America with events scheduled in Iowa, New Hampshire, and across the country in the next several weeks,” Hutchinson said in a statement.
The RNC upped the fundraising and polling criteria needed to qualify for the second GOP presidential debate, requiring candidates to attain at least 50,000 unique donors, including at least 200 from 20 states or territories, up from 40,000 unique donors that were required for the first debate.
The candidates also had to show that they had received at least 3 percent support in two national polls, or 3 percent in one national poll and in two polls taken in the four early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. This is up from last month’s requirement of 1 percent polling.
Former President Trump, the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, will for a second time not appear on the debate stage despite hitting the necessary fundraising and polling requirements. He has railed against the debates in the past and has refused to sign the RNC loyalty pledge, pointing to his substantial lead in the polls as his reason not to.
Instead, the former president will be making a prime-time address to striking autoworkers in Detroit, Mich. on Wednesday in an attempt to take attention away from his GOP rivals.
The second GOP presidential debate will take place at 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
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