Yesterday, the RNC released its rules for the first debate-- on Fox August 23 in Milwaukee-- and it looks like, so far, at least 2 candidates could be excluded, although one of them, Trump, may not even bother showing up. To participate candidates must have at least 40,000 unique donors, earn at least 1 percent in certain polls and sign a loyalty oath that requires them to support the eventual nominee in the process. 40,000 unique donors may be a problem for some of them and some aren't polling at even 1%. Chris Christie, who is getting into the race on Tuesday, has already publicly stated he’d never back Trump, the front-runner. And Trump has also said he wouldn’t back “certain” candidates., presumably anyone not named Trump.
In April Trump wrote on his pretend-Twitter account: “I see that everybody is talking about the Republican Debates, but nobody got my approval, or the approval of the Trump Campaign, before announcing them.” These are the rules for debate one:
Poll at least 1 percent in three national polls or 1 percent in two national polls and 1 percent in one early state poll from two separate early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina).
Survey at least 800 registered likely Republican voters via live calls, robo-polls, online panels and/o text message.
Properly weight the poll to reflect proper demographic groups.
Ask the presidential race question prior to asking any other question in order to avoid potentially biased responses that favor or disfavor of another candidate or candidates.
Poll cannot be conducted by a company affiliated with a candidate or candidate’s committee.
Time frame for the polls: July 1, 2023- 48 hours prior to debate.
40,000 unique donors to a candidate's principal presidential campaign committee (or exploratory committee), with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in at least 20 states or territories.
Present evidence of donors 72 hours prior to the debate.
Sign a pledge agreeing not to participate in any non-RNC sanctioned debate for the remainder of the election cycle.
Sign a pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee.
Sign an RNC data-sharing agreement.
Present the pledges 48 hours prior to the debate.
Reporting yesterday for the Associated Press, Sara Burnett wrote that “The list of candidates vying to face President Joe Biden next year has been growing. In addition to Trump, the field includes Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Other candidates expected to get into the contest soon include former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Burnett didn’t mention Larry Elder, a hate talk radio host, former Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton, former Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Steve Laffey and Michigan businessman and failed Michigan gubernatorial candidate, Perry Johnson, all of whom have officially filed to run. Nor did she mention former Rep. Mike Rogers (MI), current Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, former Rep Will Hurd (TX), former Texas Gov. Rick Perry or former Trump National Security Advisor John Bolton, some of whom are likely to declare their candidacies in time participate-- or be excluded.
And who knows— Greg Abbott, Kristi Noem, and Glenn Young are all potentially in the hunt as well. Liz Cheney may run as well— but as an independent and with the sole objective of preventing Trump from winning. She has already ruled out running as a Republican.
Trump has said so far that he wouldn’t promise to support the nominee if someone else wins the nomination, telling radio host Hugh Hewitt, “It would have to depend on who the nominee was.”
Christie, who plans to launch his campaign in New Hampshire next week, has said he would never support Trump as the party’s 2024 nominee, as he did in 2016. “No way,” he told Axios in March. Advisers did not immediately respond to questions about how Christie would handle the pledge, given his opposition to Trump.
Yesterday, Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey reported that “The rules could be challenging for the less-well-known candidates, including former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson and California talk radio host Larry Elder, who have not been listed by name in some national polls.The RealClearPolitics average of national polls currently lists six candidates as polling above 1 percent in national surveys: Trump, DeSantis. Nikki Haley, Pence, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott (SC). Other current or potential candidates, including New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Elder and Hutchinson, average 1 percent or less. Some candidates are concerned that the rules could sideline their campaigns at the starting gate. The first Republican debates of the 2016 campaign season included 17 candidates in two different events. ‘It seems that the RNC is going out of its way to purposely narrow the field at one of the earliest times in the party’s history,’ said a Republican consultant working for one of the presidential candidates who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. ‘And rather than finding a way for as many conservative voices to be heard by Republicans throughout the country, they are attempting to make this a two-man race.’”
No mention who will be catering backstage.