One Debate Down, Republicans Face Tougher Qualifications for Round 2

Eight Republicans clawed their way onto the stage on Wednesday for the first presidential primary debate, with some using gimmicks and giveaways to meet the party’s criteria.

That may not cut it next time.

To qualify for the second debate, which will be held on Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., candidates must register at least 3 percent support in a minimum of two national polls accepted by the Republican National Committee, according to a person familiar with the party’s criteria. That is up from the 1 percent threshold for Wednesday’s debate.

Organizers will also recognize a combination of one national poll and polls from at least two of the following early nominating states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The R.N.C. is also lifting its fund-raising benchmarks. Only candidates who have received financial support from 50,000 donors will make the debate stage, which is 10,000 more than they needed for the first debate. They must also have at least 200 donors in 20 or more states or territories.

Candidates will still be required to sign a loyalty pledge promising to support the eventual Republican nominee, something that former President Donald J. Trump refused to do before skipping Wednesday’s debate. He has suggested that he is not likely to participate in the next one either.

As of Wednesday, seven Republicans were averaging at least 3 percent support in national polls, according to FiveThirtyEight, a polling aggregation site.

That list included Mr. Trump, who is leading Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida by an average of more than 30 percentage points; the multimillionaire entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy; former Vice President Mike Pence; Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina; Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and Mr. Trump’s United Nations ambassador; and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

Based on the R.N.C.’s polling requirements, Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota and Asa Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor, are in jeopardy of not qualifying for the second debate, which will be televised by Fox Business.

Both candidates resorted to unusual tactics to qualify for the first one.

Mr. Burgum, a wealthy former software executive, offered $20 gift cards to anyone who gave at least $1 to his campaign, while Politico reported that Mr. Hutchinson had paid college students for each person they could persuade to contribute to his campaign.

Neil Vigdor covers political news for The Times. More about Neil Vigdor

Source: Read Full Article