It will be lights, cameras and political action in Milwaukee on August 23 as Republicans officially announce the date and criteria for their opening presidential debate.
And if enough candidates qualify to make it necessary, there will be a second debate on Aug. 24, the Republican National Committee announced Friday.
The move will speed up the campaign season in the city where Republicans will host their national convention next year. The debate will be broadcast by Fox News in partnership with Rumble and Young America’s Foundation.
“The RNC is committed to a fair, neutral and transparent primary process and the qualification criteria set out will place our party and our eventual nominee in the best position to take over the White House in November 2024.” RNC President Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
To take the stage, contestants will need to meet criteria in four main areas: contestant status, polling and fundraising, as well as signing a series of contestant pledges, including “agreeing to support the eventual candidate of the party”.
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There is a minimum polling threshold to reach 1% in various ways. And a minimum fundraising metric of 40,000 unique donors.
The Republican field is already crowded and includes former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are expected to launch their candidacies next week, as is North Dakota Governor Doug Bergum. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu is also considering a potential run. Lesser-known candidates Vivek Ramaswamy, an entrepreneur, and radio host Larry Elder have also filed.
One big question remains: Will Trump show up for the first matchup?
Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Trump is “likely to skip at least one of the first two debates” and “made it clear that he didn’t want to bring his Republican challengers to life by sharing the stage with them. “
Here is the full list of criteria from the RNC announcement:
Be eligible to race (US citizen by birth, resident for over 14 years, 35 years or older).
Declare his candidacy.
Have an active FEC Form 2 (statement of candidacy) filed with the FEC in which they identify themselves as a candidate for the Republican nomination.
Have an active FEC Form 1 (Statement of Organization) filed with the FEC designating the candidate’s main campaign committee.
Poll at least 1% in three national polls or 1% in two national polls and 1% in a first state poll in two separate “excluded” states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) recognized by the RNC.
For a survey to be recognized, it must:
Survey at least 800 likely registered Republican voters through a combination of live calls, integrated voice response, online panels, and/or SMS.
Do not overweight the responses of an individual cohort beyond the survey’s margin of error.
Ask the presidential preference question before any questions that could allow for potential bias.
Not be conducted by a polling company affiliated with a candidate or candidate committee.
Meet this voting requirement no later than 48 hours before the first scheduled debate and must take place on or after July 1, 2023.
Fund raising :
Have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors for the candidate’s main presidential campaign committee (or exploratory committee), with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in more than 20 states and/or territories.
Present this evidence to the RNC no later than 48 hours before the first scheduled debate.
Commitment of the candidate:
Have signed a pledge not to participate in any debates not sanctioned by the RNC for the remainder of the election cycle.
Have signed the commitment to accept to support the eventual candidate of the party.
Have signed an RNC data sharing agreement.
Present the signed commitments and agreement to the RNC no later than 48 hours before the first scheduled debate.
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This article originally appeared on USATNetwork: RNC Hosts First Presidential Debate August 23 in Milwaukee