Entrepreneur and GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says he has met the Republican Party’s donor requirements and is confident he’ll poll high enough to be on stage for the party’s first debate next month.
In order to qualify for the debate stage in Milwaukee on Aug. 23, candidates must register at least 1% support in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and in two early-state polls from separate states. The polls must be recognized by the Republican National Committee. It is not yet clear whether there have been enough polls recognized by the party, but Ramaswamy has consistently garnered mid single-digit to low double-digit support in recent surveys.
The RNC also requires “a minimum of 40,000 unique donors to candidate’s principal presidential campaign committee (or exploratory committee), with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20+ states and/or territories” to qualify.
Candidates will also need to sign a loyalty pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee in the general election.
Ramaswamy reached 65,000 unique donors, 40% of which were reportedly “first-time donors to the Republican Party or any political party,” according to a senior adviser on his campaign.
The entrepreneur had an unusual tactic for attracting donors, launching an effort to give bundlers who raise money for his campaign 10% of what they take in from other donors.
After launching his presidential bid in late February, Ramaswamy blitzed early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire and rose to third in several national polls. The latest shows Ramaswamy polling 13% among likely Republican presidential primary voters.
The latest survey from Kaplan Strategies shows him tied for second place with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 12%. Former President Donald Trump has been leading by substantial margins in early polling.
Ramaswamy is the sixth candidate who has met the donor threshold for the first debate, which will be hosted by Fox News.
DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, and former United Nations ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley have all also attracted enough donor support to reach the debate stage.
Trump has also met the fundraising criteria to participate but has hinted that he plans to skip the debate.
In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Trump said, “When you have a big lead, you don’t do it.”
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told Fox News earlier this week that it would be “a mistake” for Trump to miss the debates. She said she has been urging him to engage with his competitors on stage.
“You want to win the nomination, you got to get in front of those primary voters,” she said.