Monday, July 15, 2024

The Republican National Committee has scheduled the fourth debate of the 2024 primaries, despite objections from front-runner Donald J. Trump. The criteria for participation in the debate has been increased, with candidates now needing a minimum of 80,000 unique donors and a polling threshold of 6 percent in two national polls or in one national poll and one poll in one of the four early states. The next debate will take place in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Dec. 6.

Previously, the criteria had been 4 percent in the polls and 70,000 donors, which several candidates, including Senator Tim Scott and former Gov. Chris Christie, had struggled to meet for the November debate in Miami. However, Mr. Christie met the criteria and Mr. Scott is expected to do so as well. Other candidates attending the next debate include Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Gov. Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

The debate field has been shrinking, with former Vice President Mike Pence ending his 2024 bid and Gov. Doug Burgum at risk of missing the next debate. Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who participated in the first debate, has also fallen short of the criteria recently.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have urged the party to cancel the remaining debates, citing his lead in the polls. Last month, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita of the Trump campaign called for all the debates, including the upcoming one in Miami, to be canceled in order to focus on preventing Democrats from stealing the 2024 election. Mr. Trump has echoed similar sentiments on his social media platform.

In an interview, Mr. Christie expressed dissatisfaction with the new criteria, considering them “arbitrary.” However, he stated that he would comply with them. While confident that he would meet the higher thresholds, he acknowledged that it takes away from campaign efforts as candidates have to focus on finding small donors to reach a specific number, questioning the rationale behind the numbers. Despite his reservations, Mr. Christie said he would work on meeting the criteria.

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