The Republican National Committee is making it even harder for candidates to qualify for the second presidential nominee debate.
Its new criteria has the potential to significantly narrow down the field, ultimately shaping the path of a primary season that has been overwhelmingly in favor of former President Donald Trump.
Politico first reported that candidates will now need to hit at least 3% in two national polls (or one national poll and two polls in separate early states) to qualify.
Formerly they only had to reach 1% support in polls.
Additionally, candidates must now have at least 50,000 total donors with at least 200 unique donors in at least 20 states.
That is an additional 10,000 unique donors above the first debate threshold.
Candidates will also have to affirm their pledges to support the eventual nominee and to not participate in any non-RNC-sanctioned debates.
The second debate is scheduled to take place September 27th at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, roughly one month after the first debate. A media partner has not yet been announced.
Some Candidates Still Struggling
Two notable candidates are struggling to meet the qualifications for the first debate, let alone the tighter requirements of the second.
Former Arizona Governor Asa Hutchinson has met the polling requirements but still has not met the donor threshold.
Similarly, former Vice President Mike Pence is also struggling to fulfil the RNC’s donor requirements.
Pence told Fox News he expects to reach the donor threshold within the next ten days.
“I think it’ll be about the next week to 10 days that we’ll have that support,” Pence said. “We’ve been averaging about 1,000 contributions a day, with stronger frankly over the weekend. But again, I‘m very humbled by the outpouring of support. We’re not using gimmicks. We’re just putting our record out there.”
The “gimmicks” Pence referred to may be a swipe at candidates like Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who used unusual methods such as gift card rewards to lure in donors.