Republican Presidential Candidates Face Tougher Criteria for Fourth Debate

(Bloomberg) -- The Republican National Committee is making it harder to qualify for their fourth presidential debate – set for next month in Alabama – with new criteria that will require candidates to poll higher and fundraise from a wider pool of supporters.

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Candidates will need to poll at least 6% in two national polls, or one national poll plus a survey from one of the early voting states, the committee said. They’ll also need to have a minimum of 80,000 unique donors – including 200 unique donors in at least 20 different states and territories, the RNC said in a statement.

The new criteria comes as the party’s frontrunner – former President Donald Trump – has called on the GOP to end the debates and coalesce around his campaign, which polls show is significantly outpacing any of his rivals for the nomination. Trump so far has refused to participate in the debates, or sign a mandatory pledge agreeing to support the party’s eventual nominee.

The debate will be held in Tuscaloosa – home to the University of Alabama – on Dec. 6, according to a person familiar with the details. The New York Times first reported the date and new criteria.

Already, the Republican field has shrunk, with Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, announcing last weekend that he would end his 2024 campaign. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchison did not qualify for the second debate, and has not qualified for a third contest set for Wednesday in Miami.

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