GOP Confirms Eight Candidates Qualify For First Republican Debate

Donald Trump says that he won’t participate in the first Republican debate, but seven of his rivals will be on the debate stage.

The Republican National Committee confirmed the list of those who qualified for the Wednesday event, to be telecast on Fox News and moderated by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum.

Those who will be in the debate include Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, former pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

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To qualify, candidates must have a minimum of 40,000 donors and to have reached at least 1% in three national polls or a combination of two national and two early-state polls. Candidates also need to sign a pledge vowing to support the eventual nominee. Trump met the donor and polling criteria, but has not signed the pledge, and was left off the list. He said on Sunday that he would not do any debates.

Trump’s absence means that the debate will be one for an alternative, given that the former president has such a large lead in recent polls. There have been reports that Trump will counter program — perhaps with an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson — but nothing official has been announced.

Other candidates who did not qualify include former Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), businessman Perry Johnson, radio host Larry Elder and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

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