Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy has risen in the polls to a top 5 candidate. Now the Ohio businessman and political outsider has secured a spot on the Republican National Committee debate stage.
In fact, Ramaswamy’s campaign crossed the RNC debate stage criteria threshold in May, several months before the debates are set to take place, according to the candidate’s camp.
In a statement released Saturday morning, the Ramaswamy campaign noted that it has obtained donations from 43,000 unique individuals, which is greater than the standard of 40,000 unique individuals announced Friday by the RNC as a requirement to get on the debate stage.
“First the debate stage. Then the election. Then the revival. It’s easy to hide behind talking points, but the debates are a crucial step for the GOP to define the agenda and what we stand for rather than reciting convenient political slogans,” Ramaswamy said in a statement. “I don’t think a lot of the candidates will relish being on the debate stage with me, but if we’re running to represent our country to sit across the table from Xi Jinping, we better be ready to debate our own competitors in the GOP primary field.”
On Friday, Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the first Republican presidential primary debate will take place in Milwaukee on Aug. 23. Milwaukee is also home to the 2024 Republican National Convention that will officially nominate the party’s presidential candidate. Should enough candidates qualify to make it necessary, there will be a second debate on Aug. 24.
McDaniel also announced the criteria to qualify for the debate. Qualifications include candidate status, polling, fundraising and candidate pledging.
A candidate must poll at least 1 percent in three national polls OR 1 percent in two national polls and 1 percent in one early state poll from two separate “carve out” states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) recognized by the RNC.
Ramaswamy, 37, the youngest candidate in the contest, is polling at 2.6 percent, according to the most recent RealClearPolitics average of Republican presidential primary polls. He’s currently running only behind former President Donald Trump (53.2%), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (22.4%), former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (4.4%) and former Vice President Mike Pence (3.8%). Pence is expected to enter the presidential race next week in a crowded filed of Republican presidential aspirants.
Candidates also must have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors to their principal presidential campaign committee (or exploratory committee), with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20-plus states and/or territories. And they must have a signed pledge agreeing not to participate in any non-RNC sanctioned debate for the remainder of the election cycle. And they have to pledge to support the eventual party nominee.
“The RNC is committed to putting on a fair, neutral, and transparent primary process and the qualifying criteria set forth will put our party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House come November 2024,” McDaniel said.
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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy and Supporters” by Vivek Ramaswamy.