Jul 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

GOP presidential candidate offers $20 gift cards for $1 donations


North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum speaks during a campaign stop at the Westside Conservative Breakfast Club meeting on June 9 in Ankeny, Iowa. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Doug Burgum is promising $20 gift cards to 50,000 people who donate $1 to his campaign, he announced Monday.

Why it matters: It's an unprecedented move by a presidential candidate and underscores the extreme efforts long-shot candidates are taking to qualify for the August debate stage.

  • Candidates must receive 40,000 donors, including at least 200 unique donors in each of 20 states, to qualify for the August debate.

Driving the news: "The burden on American families caused by the Democrats is unruly, and Joe Biden is doing nothing to fix it," Burgum wrote on a WinRed page soliciting donations.

  • "We want to help, so we’re offering YOU a $20 gift card, and all YOU have to do is contribute $1 to claim it," he wrote.

Jordan Libowitz, the communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, called it the "single thirstiest thing" he's seen in politics.

  • "In a way it makes sense that it's this desperate maneuver to get onto a debate stage to raise a profile, but it's weird," he added.
  • "The whole point they have this threshold is because they only want actual, serious candidates on the stage," Libowitz said.
  • A spokesperson for the RNC did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Zoom out: Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy also announced a new fundraising scheme on Monday to give supporters a 10% cut of the total money they raise for his campaign.

  • Ramaswamy has qualified for the August debate stage, his campaign previously told Axios.

Go deeper: GOP loyalty pledge draws heat from 2024 candidates

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