Updated Sep 25, 2023 - Politics & Policy

7 GOP candidates have qualified for second debate, RNC says

From left to right: Mike Pence, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy during the Republican primary presidential debate in Milwaukee on Aug. 23. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Seven Republican presidential candidates have qualified for the second GOP presidential debate Sept. 27 in Simi Valley, California, the Republican National Committee announced Monday evening.

The big picture: The name of former President Trump, the GOP frontrunner who's planning to counterprogram the debate by speaking to striking autoworkers in Detroit at about the same time, is absent from the list of those who qualified.

  • Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who took part in the first debate last month, did not qualify for the second one.

Driving the news: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; businessman Vivek Ramaswamy; former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley; former Vice President Mike Pence; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum have all qualified, according to the RNC.

  • Participants in the debate need to show they have at least 50,000 unique donors, including at least 200 donors each from 20 states or territories.
  • They also need at least 3% of support in two qualifying national surveys, or in one national poll and two polls from competitive early primary states. The polls must have been conducted since Aug. 1.

Between the lines: Like the first debate, the RNC hasn't said publicly which polls meet its standards for qualification.

  • The deadline for candidates to qualify is 48 hours before the debate, a spokesperson for the RNC confirmed.

Flashback: Trump, who said last month that he would "not be doing the debates," also snubbed the first GOP primary debate in Milwaukee, instead sitting for an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that aired during part of the debate.

  • Trump also refused to sign the RNC's pledge to support the eventual nominee, the final debate qualification requirement.
  • With Trump absent in Milwaukee, Ramaswamy emerged as a lightning rod on stage by sparring with his GOP rivals.

What they're saying: A spokesperson for Trump said in an emailed statement on Monday night that the former president "will be in Michigan talking with union workers and ensuring American jobs are protected" when the debate takes place.

What to watch: The debate, co-moderated by Fox News Media's Stuart Varney and Dana Perino and UNIVISION's Ilia Calderón, is scheduled for 9pm Wednesday ET at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

  • Trump's speech in Detroit that evening is scheduled in prime time as well, the New York Times first reported.

Go deeper: In Trump's absence, Ramaswamy drives the GOP debate

Editor's note: This story has been updated to confirm which candidates qualified and which did not, and with comment from a Trump spokesperson.

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