FIRST ON FOX: Former Vice President Mike Pence has met the requirements to qualify for the first Republican presidential nomination debate, his campaign tells Fox News.
Pence’s 2024 presidential campaign said on Monday that earlier in the day they crossed the 40,000-donor threshold – one of two criteria set by the Republican National Committee for GOP White House hopefuls to reach the debate stage. Pence had already passed the polling threshold mandated by the RNC.
The former vice president’s political team said they reached out to inform the RNC that Pence had qualified and spotlighted that they were the first campaign to submit their numbers for the national party committee’s verification process.
Fox News is hosting the debate, which will be held August 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
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Former Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Republican Party Of Iowa’s annual Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, US, on Friday, July 28, 2023. (Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Pence becomes the eighth Republican presidential candidate to announce they’ve passed the thresholds to qualify for the debate. The other contenders who’ve already reached the criteria are former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and entrepreneur and best-selling author Vivek Ramaswamy.
Trump has yet to say if he’ll attend the first debate.
Pence’s campaign said they have 200 or more donors in 40 states, far higher than the 20-state threshold mandated by the RNC. They also highlighted that the former vice president – who launched his 2024 campaign in early June – reached the donor threshold in nine weeks, which was quicker than three of his rivals, Scott, Haley, and Ramaswamy.
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And Pence’s team emphasized that they met the donor threshold without any giveaways or gimmicks. Burgum, a wealthy former software executive who’s been mostly self-funding his campaign, made headlines by offering $20 gift cards in return for one-dollar donations. The former vice president’s team also noted that they brought in less than half of their donors through digital outreach and said that events with the candidate and direct mail continue to be strengths for their campaign.
Pence has campaigned extensively in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina since launching his presidential bid. But his support in the latest Republican presidential primary polls stands in the single digits, far behind Trump, his former running mate, who remains the commanding front-runner for the 2024 GOP nomination as he makes his third straight White House run.
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But Pence grabbed plenty of attention last week after the former president was indicted and arraigned in federal court on charges he attempted to overturn his loss in the 2020 election. Trump, over the weekend, turned up the volume on his attacks towards Pence after the former vice president sharpened his criticism of Trump over the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters who temporarily disrupted congressional certification of President Biden’s Electoral College victory, which was overseen by Pence.
“Mike Pence made quick and easy work of the donor threshold, and he’s looking forward to a substantive debate about the issues important to the American people. Hopefully, former President Trump has the courage to show up,” Pence campaign spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement.
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Pence had been saying for the past couple of weeks that he would qualify for the debate in time. And last week, in a conference call with donors in which reporters were invited to attend, Pence campaign manager Steve DaMaura highlighted that the campaign had topped 30,000 unique donors and was averaging over 1,000 new, unique donors per day in recent days.