Eric Thayer/The New York Times
On Tuesday morning, it was announced that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former UN ambassador and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, fromer New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson all qualified for the first debate which is scheduled for Wednesday night in Milwaukee. Donald Trump also qualified but declined the invite.
There is some confusion now over whether this will be all of the candidates or if the debate could potentially be delayed due to unclear rules. Four other candidates are now claiming that they also met the qualifications for the debate stage but were excluded. One is even suing for the debate to be postponed.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez announced on Friday that he qualified for the debate. The RNC excluded him from the debate stage, claiming that he did not meet the requirements.
Former Texas Congressman Will Hurd claimed on Tuesday, that he met all of the qualifications but slammed the RNC for “lack of transparency and confusion” and claimed that the polling standards are “arbitrary, unclear and lack consistency”. Hurd claims that the RNC discounted polls that included Independents and Democrats that were willing to vote in the Republican primary.
Conservative commentator and radio show host, Larry Elder, announced Tuesday morning that he will be suing in an attempt to get the GOP to delay the debate due to it’s unclear rules and being excluded. Elder announced on Monday that he meet the qualifications but was still excluded from the debate. Elder also tweeted “The RNC Committee on Debates meets in Milwaukee today. Are they even aware their leaders are keeping voices off the stage that qualified?”, adding “I’m calling for a discussion and a vote of the full committee on the rigged polling criteria set by the anti-conservative, anti-Trump RNC establishment.”
Bussinessman Perry Johnson annnounced on Friday that he qualified for the debate but he has been excluded as well. On Monday, he slammed the RNC and claimed that “The debate process has been corrupted, plain and simple. Our campaign hit every metric put forward by the RNC and we have qualified for the debate. We’ll be in Milwaukee Wednesday and will have more to say tomorrow.”
It’s important to note that Texas Pastor and businessman, Ryan Binkley, is also in the race but appears to not have met the polling qualifications. A recent Trafalger Iowa poll did show Binkley breaking the 1% threshold, beating several candidates, but it appears that he only met the threshold in one qualifying poll. On Sunday, Binkley announced that he had met the donor requirements.
As of now, the debate is scheduled for Wednesday August 23rd in Milwaukee and will be hosted by Fox News hosts Bret Baier and Martha Maccallum.