Aug 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Pence qualifies for first Republican presidential primary debate

 Presidential hopeful and former Vice President Mike Pence arrives at a campaign event at American Legion Hall Post 27 in Londonderry, New Hampshire, on August 4, 2023.

U.S. presidential candidate and former Vice President Mike Pence in Londonderry, New Hampshire, last week. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

Mike Pence will be on stage at the first Republican presidential debate after meeting polling and donor requirements, the former vice president's 2024 campaign announced Monday night.

The big picture: This sets him up for a potential showdown with Donald Trump ahead of the former president's Jan. 6 criminal trial on alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election at which the ex-vice president could be called as a witness.

Yes, but: Front-runner Trump has yet to confirm his attendance at the debate and said in July that "when you have a big lead, you don't do it."

What they're saying: "Mike Pence made quick and easy work of the donor threshold, and he's looking forward to a substantive debate about the issues important to the American people," Pence campaign spokesperson Devin O'Malley said in a statement to Fox News.

  • "Hopefully, former President Trump has the courage to show up."

Zoom out: Pence is among eight GOP presidential candidates to meet the Republican National Committee requirements for the Aug. 23 debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  • He had already met the RNC's polling criteria and reached the 40,000-unique donor requirement on Monday, Pence's aides told CNN.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Pence campaign spokesperson Devin O'Malley.

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