A total of seven Republican candidates have qualified for the second 2024 GOP presidential debate, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced on Sept. 25.
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum met the criteria needed to qualify for the second primary, which is set to take place on Wednesday, the RNC said.
All seven candidates participated in August’s first Republican debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
However, the criteria to take part in the event was much stricter this time compared to the initial primary and some former participants did not make the cut.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has failed to meet the qualifications for the next debate—which will take place on Sept. 27 at 9 p.m. ET, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, in Simi Valley, California—and will therefore not appear on stage.
Mr. Hutchinson vowed in a statement Monday to continue campaigning to “bring out the best of America with events scheduled in Iowa, New Hampshire, and across the country in the next several weeks” despite “falling short of the RNC’s polling requirement” for the upcoming debate.
‘Stand Up to Donald Trump’
The former Arkansas governor said he initially entered the Republican 2024 race because “it is critically important for a leader within the Republican Party to stand up to Donald Trump and call him out on misleading his supporters and the American people.”
“I intend to continue doing that and look forward to holding a press conference in Detroit on Wednesday where I will highlight his false promises to blue-collar and union workers in Michigan and across America,” Mr. Hutchinson added.
In order to qualify for the upcoming debate, participants needed to have a minimum of 50,000 unique donors to their principal presidential campaign committee or exploratory committee, including at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in more than 20 states and/or territories, according to the RNC.
Candidates must also poll at 3 percent in two national polls or 3 percent in one national poll and 3 percent in one early state poll from two separate early-voting states—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina—to be eligible for the upcoming primary and those polls must have been conducted since Aug. 1, as per the RNC guidelines.
Although fulfilling these criteria, President Trump in August said that he would “not be doing the debates,” citing the general public’s approval of him. He also refused to sign a pledge to support another potential Republican nominee.
Trump Opts for Detroit
Another candidate who will not be appearing on stage this week is former president and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Instead, President Trump plans to skip the debate in favor of a visit to Detroit where the United Auto Workers (UAW) union launched an unprecedented labor strike against the three biggest automakers—General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis after failing to reach an agreement over new contracts and increased pay.
President Trump “will be in Michigan talking with union workers and ensuring American jobs are protected” when the debate takes place, a spokesperson told Axios late Monday.
This is not the first time President Trump has opted out of debating with his fellow GOP candidates, as he was noticeably absent from the stage in August’s event; having opted instead to attend a sit-down interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Still, that decision appeared not to have harmed President Trump, who has maintained his prominent lead in national polls.
This week’s debate is being hosted by the Fox Business Network and the Spanish-language TV channel Univision and will also be live-streamed on the streaming site Rumble.
The two-hour debate will start at 9 p.m. ET.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.