Only 4 GOP Candidates Make the Cut for Alabama Showdown!


Only 4 GOP Candidates Make the Cut for Alabama Showdown!
© Getty Images News/Scott Olson

The stage for the fourth GOP presidential primary debate, scheduled for Wednesday night in Alabama, has been set with just four candidates. Announced by the Republican National Committee and NewsNation, this debate marks a notable shrinkage in the number of contenders, presenting a more focused platform for the candidates.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will be the ones taking the stage in Tuscaloosa. This lineup, the smallest of the year, signifies a pivotal moment in the race.

Interestingly, former President Donald Trump, currently leading in the GOP nomination race, will not be participating. He has chosen to skip all previous debates and will instead be attending a fundraiser in Florida for a super PAC supporting his candidacy.

Rigorous Qualification Criteria

The narrowing of the debate field comes as the Republican National Committee has imposed stricter donor and polling criteria for participation. To qualify for the Tuscaloosa stage, candidates had to garner support from at least 80,000 unique donors, including a minimum of 200 donors from 20 different states or territories.

Additionally, they were required to achieve at least 6% in two national qualifying polls, or one national plus two early-voting state polls from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, or Nevada. These stringent requirements reflect an effort by the RNC to present the most viable candidates to the public.

Furthermore, participants are obligated to pledge their support for whoever becomes the GOP nominee, ensuring party unity post-primaries. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum expressed his disappointment with the RNC's tightened debate qualifications, announcing the end of his campaign for the GOP nomination.

Burgum criticized the RNC's criteria, stating, “The RNC’s clubhouse debate requirements are nationalizing the primary process and taking the power of democracy away from the engaged, thoughtful citizens of Iowa and New Hampshire”.

He argued that these qualifications favor candidates from major media markets over those from America's Heartland, without reflecting the actual presidential job qualifications. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson remains in the GOP race but has not qualified for any primary debates since his appearance in the first debate in Milwaukee in August.