Seven candidates have qualified for the second GOP presidential primary debate on Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., the Republican National Committee announced.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum met RNC criteria for the debate.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson was the only candidate from the first debate who failed to meet the party’s polling threshold and individual-donor requirements.
“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 following the announcement.
“I understand that the RNC and the media are trying to reduce the number of candidates, but I measure success based on the response I receive in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. My goal is to increase my polling numbers to 4% in an early state before Thanksgiving. If that goal is met, then I remain competitive and in contention for either Caucus Day or Primary Day.”
The two-hour debate will air live starting at 9 p.m. on Fox Business and Univision, according to the RNC, and be carried on livestream by Rumble.
Fox News hosts Stuart Varney and Dana Perino will moderate, along with Univision’s Ilia Calderón.
“Wednesday’s debate is another opportunity for the RNC to share our diverse candidate field with the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
“The Republican Party is united around one common goal — Beating Biden — and there is no better place to showcase our conservative vision for the future than the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.”
Former President Donald Trump is expected to skip the debate and instead deliver a speech to Detroit amid the United Auto Workers strike, one of his campaign advisers confirmed to The Post.
President Biden, his chief political opponent, said on Friday he will fly to Michigan on Tuesday to “stand in solidarity with the men and women of UAW as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.”
For the second debate, candidates needed at least 50,000 individual donors to their campaign and register with at least 3% support in two national polls or 3% in one national poll and 3% in two polls from the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.
The polls must be approved by the RNC and conducted after Aug. 1. Each must also survey at least 800 registered likely Republican voters. Internal campaign polls do not count.
Republican candidates have also agreed to participate only in RNC-sanctioned debates and sign a pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee.
All candidates had to meet the criteria by Monday night at 9 p.m., 48 hours before the debate will take place.
At the last debate, Hutchinson and Christie refused to raise their hands when asked if they would support Trump’s candidacy if he is convicted on any of the 91 charges he faces across four indictments.
“Here is the bottom line. Someone’s got to stop normalizing this conduct,” Christie said. “Whether or not you believe the criminal charges are right or wrong, the conduct is beneath the office of president of the United States.”
Hutchinson said Trump was “morally disqualified from being president again” — and suggested the former president could be disqualified under the 14th Amendment “as a result of the insurrection” at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Trump, 77, was indicted earlier this year in Washington, DC, and Georgia for his attempts to overturn the 2020 election, which culminated in the storming of the US Capitol building by a mob of his supporters.
He also faces charges in Manhattan for allegedly falsifying business records to hide “hush money” payments to a porn star before the 2016 election — and in Florida for allegedly retaining classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
The former president skipped the last Republican debate to sit for an interview at his Bedminster, N.J., golf resort with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which aired on X, the site formerly known as Twitter.
Controversy ensued after Donald Trump Jr. and his wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle were barred access as media surrogates to the post-debate “spin room,” though other Trump allies were later spotted in the forum.
Fox News, which co-hosted the event with the RNC, banned surrogates from entering the room to make the case for their candidate having won the night to reporters.
A network spokesman told The Post that media surrogates will be given access to the room if they are booked for an interview. A spokeswoman for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library also confirmed the guidelines.
Trump is currently leading the GOP primary field with 57.3% support, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average.
He is followed by DeSantis (13.5%), Ramaswamy (6.8%), Haley (5.3%), Pence (4.2%), Scott (2.5%), Christie (2.5%), Burgum (0.5%) and Hutchinson (0.4%), the polling aggregator shows.
Six longshot candidates did not qualify for the first debate: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, radio talk show host Larry Elder, businessman Perry Johnson, Texas businessman and pastor Ryan Binkley and former Cranston, RI, Mayor Steve Laffey.
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