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As Donald Trump Qualifies For The Second Sebate, Uncertainty Looms

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As Donald Trump Qualifies For The Second Sebate, Uncertainty Looms

(CTN News) – We haven’t even had the first debate yet, but the qualifying period has already begun. Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, have both earned spots on stage.

But the biggest question is whether it’ll be their first or second debate.

It’s unclear what role the debates will play in the current GOP primary since Donald Trump hasn’t committed to Milwaukee. By far, he’s leading the field.

The Republican National Committee also required four other candidates for the second debate: businessperson Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Each of the six candidates got at least 3 percent in a Morning Consult poll released on Tuesday. DeSantis was second place with 16 percent, behind Donald Trump at 57 percent. The Morning Consult survey released last week showed all six candidates had at least 3 percent.

Fox Business will broadcast the second debate Sept. 27 from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, Calif.

September’s debate has a higher bar. Candidates have to get 3 percent in several polls that meet RNC’s methodology, and have at least 50,000 donors with 200 unique donors in 20 different states. The first debate markers were 1 percent in the polls and 40,000 donors – but all six qualified on Tuesday had previously met the second debate threshold.

In addition, candidates have to promise to support the nominee – but Trump says he won’t.

Christie and Mike Pence both said Trump is unfit to be president again. Loyalty pledges don’t seem to matter to Donald Trump. After signing one in 2016, he wouldn’t back anyone but himself publicly.

According to a copy of the pledge Haley released, “If I don’t win the Republican nomination in 2024 for President, I’m going to honor the will of the primary voters and support the nominee to save our country and beat Joe Biden,”

The first debate is 48 hours away, so the will he, won’t he drama around Donald Trump could go on.

The other candidates who qualified for the first – Pence and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum – might have a tougher time getting in.

Based on POLITICO’s analysis, Pence seems like a lock. Morning Consult’s two surveys put him well over the polling threshold, and he’s close to the donors.

On NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Pence said, “I think I’ll qualify for the second debate before the first.”

Burgum already hit the new donor mark after he gave away $20 gift cards for dollar donations. However, he’ll have a harder time getting there.

In response to repeated questions about whether a pair of recent polls met Republican National Committee qualifications on Monday, the GOP didn’t respond. Kaplan Strategies, a less widely-regarded firm, and National Public Affairs, a firm founded by Donald Trump 2020 campaign, both conducted national surveys.

RNC debate rules have broad methodological requirements that seem to rule out pollsters with less-well-known track records. Qualifying polls can’t be conducted by a polling company affiliated with a candidate or candidate committee. Neither of these polls has any effect on whether a candidate gets on stage.

Other candidates are unlikely. Asa Hutchinson is halfway to 40,000 donors after the first debate, but polling is at 1 percent.

Perry Johnson and Donald Trump Miami Mayor Francis Suarez both met the donor requirement but not the polling threshold. Despite Suarez’s super PAC’s claims, POLITICO’s analysis does not match theirs.

It’s unlikely candidates will make it to all the debates if they don’t make it to the first.

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