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Former Vice President Mike Pence announced Monday that he had fulfilled the requirements to be on stage for the first Republican presidential primary debate of the 2024 campaign. Pence joins seven other candidates who have already qualified for the August 23 event in Milwaukee.
Pence’s team said the former vice president cleared the 40,000 individual donor threshold, the final requirement he needed to make the debate stage, Fox News reported. The Republican candidate had already met the 1% polling requirement set by the Republican National Committee.
Pence joins a growing list of Republican candidates to qualify for the debate, including former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), former South Carolina Governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Pence’s inclusion sets up a potential showdown between him and his former boss, Donald Trump, but it remains unknown if Trump will participate in the August 23 debate. One of Trump’s advisers said last month that it was unlikely the former president would be on stage in Milwaukee.
Following Trump’s latest arraignment in a Washington, D.C., court, Pence called out his former running mate, saying the charges are a reminder that he should never be president again. Pence then said in an interview earlier this week that Trump is “entitled to a presumption of innocence.”
Pence’s team told Fox News that they reached the donor threshold without any special giveaways. Burgum, a tech billionaire, offered people $20 gift cards in return for a $1 donation, and Ramaswamy started a scheme to pay supporters 10% of any money they help raise for his campaign.
Trump remains the leader in early polling for the Republican primary with DeSantis consistently polling as his biggest threat from within the party. Pence currently sits in fourth place behind Ramaswamy in the national polling average, according to Real Clear Politics.