First GOP Debate Now Has Eight Qualifiers

Mike Pence is the latest to make the threshold
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2023 6:36 AM CDT
Mike Pence Is 8th to Qualify for GOP Debate
Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Clinton County GOP Hog Roast, July 30, 2023, in Clinton, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Mike Pence and former President Trump have been sniping at each from afar of late, and they might now face each other in person. The former vice president has become the eighth Republican candidate to qualify for the first GOP debate on Aug. 23, reports Fox News. Pence qualified by reaching the threshold of having 40,000 donors—he had previously reached the other threshold of hitting at least 1% in the polls, Politico.

  • Who's in: Trump, Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessperson Vivek Ramaswamy, former UN ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

The big question hanging over the debate is whether Trump will participate. He has threatened to skip, and Axios reports it's likely he'll make good on that threat. While Pence's team took longer than others to reach the donor threshold, his campaign emphasized he did so without resorting to unorthodox strategies such as handing out gift cards, as some of the other candidates have done. This month's debate, hosted by Fox, will be in Milwaukee. (Trump's recent indictment on alleged election interference has intensified the friction between him and Pence.)

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