Former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have each reached 1% or higher in at least two qualifying national polls and two qualifying state polls from separate states, which is a requirement set by the Republican National Committee.
Candidates must also meet fundraising criteria and sign a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee in order to qualify for the August 23 debate in Milwaukee. Several candidates and their aides say they have already met that donor threshold, including Trump, DeSantis, Scott, Haley, Christie and Ramaswamy.
Ramaswamy announced Saturday that he had also met the RNC’s fundraising criteria of 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique contributors from 20 or more states and territories. He also said he intends to sign the candidate pledge.
“The RNC’s debate stage criteria are stringent but fair,” Ramaswamy said in a statement. “If an outsider can clear the bar, politically experienced candidates should be able to as well: if you can’t hit these metrics by late August, you have absolutely no chance of defeating Joe Biden in the general election.”
Pence is the only candidate who has met the polling threshold but says he has not reached the fundraising threshold.
“We’re making incredible progress toward that goal. We’re not there yet,” the former vice president told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” in an interview that aired Sunday. “We will make it. I will see you at that debate stage.”
Of the remaining GOP candidates who have not yet met the polling criteria, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is one national poll away from doing so, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum needs two national polls, and former Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez each need one state and two national polls to qualify. No other candidate has hit 1% in a qualifying poll so far.
The new Fox Business polls from Iowa and South Carolina show Trump with a commanding lead over the rest of the field in both states. In the Hawkeye State, 46% of likely GOP caucusgoers backed the former president, compared with 16% for DeSantis and 11% for Scott.
In South Carolina, 48% of likely GOP primary voters picked Trump in the Fox Business poll, compared with 14% for Haley, 13% for DeSantis and 10% for Scott.
The surveys were conducted July 15-19 among 806 likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa and 808 likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina, and each had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Their overall methodology appears to meet the RNC’s standards for recognized polling.