(Bloomberg) -- The second debate of the 2024 Republican primary season will see seven candidates take the stage, as former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify and former President Donald Trump continues to boycott the televised matchups.
The Republican National Committee said Wednesday’s debate would feature Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, US Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Burgum was the last candidate to make the cut, meeting the polling requirement with the help of a Trafalgar poll Saturday that had him at 3.2% nationally.
Wednesday’s debate will take place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
Hutchinson, who argued that Trump was “morally disqualified” from the presidency in the first debate in August, failed to reach the 3% polling threshold for the second forum.
“I understand that the RNC and the media are trying to reduce the number of candidates, but I measure success based on the response I receive in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire,” Hutchinson said in a statement Monday night.
Hutchinson said he would instead hold a press conference in Detroit Wednesday, directly challenging Trump as he delivers his own address aimed at winning over striking auto workers in Michigan. President Joe Biden plans to travel to Michigan on Tuesday to show support for the workers on the picket line.
Read More: Republicans to Hold Third Presidential Primary Debate in Miami
Thinning the participants is by design, as the party has taken steps to avoid the unwieldy debates of the 2016 election, when Republicans last had an open primary. The second GOP debate of that cycle was also at the Reagan Library and saw 11 candidates on the main stage and another four in an overflow secondary debate.
“I understand that the RNC and the media are trying to reduce the number of candidates, but I measure success based on the response I receive in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire,” Hutchinson said in a statement on Monday night.
Hutchinson said he would hold a press conference in Detroit Wednesday, directly challenging Trump as he delivers his own address intended to win over striking auto workers in Michigan. President Joe Biden will travel to Michigan, a battleground state, on Tuesday and plans to join workers on a picket line.
The RNC will increase the threshold again for the third debate in Miami in November, requiring candidates to get at least 4% in two national polls — or 4% in one national poll and 4% from two separate early-state polls.
Candidates will also need at least 70,000 unique donors — with at least at least 200 unique donors in 20 states or territories.
(Updates with response from Hutchinson, starting in sixth paragraph.)
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