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RNC Reveals Which GOP Candidates Will Participate In Second Debate

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Monday evening that seven 2024 GOP primary candidates will take the second debate stage in Simi Valley, California, on Wednesday, according to a press release.

Former President Donald Trump is skipping the second debate like he did the first in late August, and is instead visiting current and former members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) in Detroit, Michigan, after it went on strike last week. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum all exceeded the RNC’s upped debate requirements to participate, according to the press release.

“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 Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is the only GOP hopeful who appeared on the first debate stage but did not qualify for the second. Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, conservative radio personality Larry Elder and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson also did not make the cut — all of whom criticized the RNC’s decision to disqualify them from the first debate stage. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez suspended his campaign when he didn’t make the first debate after his campaign preemptively announced he met the criteria.

Candidates had to have surpassed a 50,000 unique donor threshold, 10,000 higher than the first debate criteria, with at least 20o coming from 20 states or territories. The GOP hopefuls had to receive a minimum of 3% support in two national polls, or 3% in one national poll and in two key early primary state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. For the first debate, the contenders had to have achieved only 1% support in three national polls, or 1% in two national and in two key early primary state polls.

To be recognized by the RNC, the surveys must have been conducted after Aug. 1, polled at least 800 likely Republican primary voters and could not be affiliated with any GOP presidential candidate. Candidates also had to have signed the loyalty agreement to support the eventual nominee, among other pledges, to participate in the second debate.

The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Sept. 7 and Sept. 21, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by over 40 points, followed by DeSantis with 13.5%, Ramaswamy with 6.8%, Haley with 5.3% and Pence with 4.2%. Scott and Christie are tied at 2.5%, with all other contenders receiving less than 1% support.

Dana Perino and Stuart Varney will moderate the debate hosted by Fox Business, alongside Univision’s Ilia Calderón, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

The RNC announced its criteria Friday for the third GOP primary debate on Nov. 8 in Miami, Florida, increasing the unique donor threshold to 70,000 and polling requirement to 4% in two national polls, or 4% in one national and in two key early primary state polls.

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