Governor of Florida Ron DeSantisformer governor of New Jersey Chris Christieformer governor of South Carolina Nikki Haleyentrepreneur Vivek RamaswamySenator from South Carolina Tim ScottGovernor of North Dakota Doug Burgumformer Vice President Mike Pence and former Governor of Arkansas Asa Hutchinson have all qualified.
All eight nominees have contributed at least 40,000 individual donors from more than 20 states and/or territories to their campaigns and have maintained at least one percent in two national polls and two early state polls.
Last year, the RNC added a list of criteria that candidates must meet to qualify for the first debate as the pool of Republican candidates grows larger each month.
In addition to the 40,000 individual donors and a one percent poll, candidates must also pledge to support the RNC’s eventual nominee and are prohibited from participating in non-RNC sanctioned debates for the remainder of the election cycle.
Former President donald trump would also have qualified but did not because he refused to sign the RNC’s pledge. In lieu of the official debate, Mr Trump said he would opt for an interview with Tucker Carlson to be broadcast concurrently with the debate.
The first debate is expected to be live on Fox News at 9 p.m. ET. The venue is Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The RNC’s new rules this year drew mixed reactions from candidates – particularly those who have struggled to meet the criteria.
Mr Ramaswamy, who has seen a boom in his polls, called the criteria “strict but fair”.
“I am a first-time candidate who ran with a very small name, no political donors and no pre-existing tally of donors,” Mr Ramaswamy said in a statement. “If an outsider can clear the bar, so should politically experienced candidates.”
The more established candidates such as Mr. DeSantis, Mr. Pence, Ms. Haley, Mr. Scott and Mr. Christie all met the polling criteria weeks before the debate.
However, some failed to meet the requirement of 40,000 donors.
Mr Pence was one of the last candidates to qualify for the debate after finally getting enough donors to qualify thanks to his campaign urging his supporters to donate at least $1. However, shortly after his announcement, the ex-vice president took part in national and state polls.
Mr. Burgum took a unique approach to meeting this requirement by offering donors a chance to win $20 gift cards when they donate $1 to his campaign – luckily he managed to sign up for to qualify the debate.
Mr Hutchinson qualified just before the debate after asking his supporters to donate to his campaign.
But other candidates trying to qualify by August 21 weren’t so lucky.
Although Mr Suarez offered donors who had donated $1 a chance to win football match tickets to see Lionel Messi play for Inter Miami, the RNC confirmed, based on a survey, that he did not qualify.
The Mayor of Miami, who famously said those who don’t qualify for the debate should step out, accepted that he did not meet the criteria on Twitter.
Perry Johnson, who offered to give away his book in exchange for donations, also didn’t qualify.
Will Hurd, Larry Elder and Ryan Binkley will join Mr Johnson and Mr Suarez to watch the debate remotely.