Former Republican Texas Rep. Will Hurd is fundraising to make the presidential primary debate stage in August despite having said he won’t comply with the loyalty pledge requirement.
Hurd, who recently entered the growing Republican primary field, told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins June 22 that he would not be signing the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee — a criteria candidates must meet to make the debate stage. Though the former congressman promised not to support former President Donald Trump if he becomes the nominee, he continues to fundraise to reach the RNC’s 40,000 donor threshold requirement to debate, according to his Twitter.
“Will needs your help getting to 40,000 donors. Give just $1 to get him on the stage,” reads a Tuesday tweet from Hurd’s account, along with a link to his donor page.
— Will Hurd (@WillHurd) June 28, 2023
Hurd said he doesn’t think the RNC should attempt to “rig” which candidates are eligible to participate in the presidential primary debates. When asked by Collins whether Hurd would call on the RNC to amend their loyalty pledge, the former congressman replied, “the RNC can do whatever the RNC wants to do.”
“I’m not in the business of lying to the American people for the sake of a microphone,” Hurd told the Daily Caller News Foundation in a statement. “I fully intend to get to 40,000 donors, meet the polling threshold, and show up to Milwaukee for the debate. I will not sign a pledge to any political leader, so go to my website and donate to see what the RNC does on August 23rd.”
The RNC pointed the DCNF to Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel’s most recent remarks on the loyalty pledge from June 22 upon request for comment.
“It’s the Republican Party nomination and the pledge is staying, and anybody who wants to seek the nomination of our party should pledge to support the voters. If you go through this process, and you take time on the debate stage, and you’re going to be there, the number one pledge should be ‘beat Biden,’” McDaniel told Fox News’ Kayleigh McEnany. “If we can’t commit that we’re going to support who the voters choose as the nominee, then you don’t deserve to be on the Republican Party debate stage.”
Along with the loyalty pledge and donor criteria, the RNC included a polling requirement, according to the committee’s website. Candidates must either poll at or above 1% support in at least three national polls, or the contenders could receive 1% in two national polls and 1% in one key early primary state poll, like New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina or Nevada.
Hurd has yet to register in national polls to reflect a Real Clear Politics (RCP) average.
The RNC’s loyalty pledge has also drawn criticism from former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Hutchinson asked the committee to change their pledge due to concerns of potentially having to support a convicted felon, and Christie called the requirement a “useless idea,” though he admitted he’d do what’s necessary to make the debate stage.
In 2015, then-candidate Trump pledged to support the Republican nominee per the RNC’s rules, but later changed his tune, according to NPR. Christie told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I’ll take the pledge in 2024 just as seriously as Donald Trump took it in 2016.”
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