RNC Announces Date Of First Presidential Debate, Criteria Candidates Must Meet To Get On Stage
SIMI VALLEY, CA - APRIL 20: RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel speaks at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institute's 'A Time for Choosing Speaker Series' at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on April 20, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. McDaniel, who has served as the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee Chairwoman since 2017, is the second woman to serve as Chair of the RNC and the longest serving since the Civil War.
David McNew/Getty Images

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced on Friday the date of the first Republican presidential primary debate and the criteria that candidates must meet in order to get on stage.

“I am excited to announce the criteria for our first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee on August 23,” McDaniel said in a statement. “The RNC is committed to putting on a fair, neutral, and transparent primary process and the qualifying criteria set forth will put our party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House come November 2024.”

Aside from the basic constitutional requirements and paperwork needed to run for president, those who want to make it on the stage of the August 23 debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will need to meet certain polling and fundraising thresholds.

Candidates will need to be polling at least at “1% in three national polls OR 1% in two national polls and 1% in one early state poll from two separate ‘carve out’ states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) recognized by the RNC.”

In order for the poll to count, the survey methodology will have to meet certain criteria, including:

  • Survey at least 800 registered likely Republican voters through a mix of live calls, integrated voice response, online panels, and/or text message.
  • Not overly weight responses of any individual cohort beyond the margin of the error of the poll.
  • Ask the question on presidential preference prior to any question which may allow potential bias.
  • Not be conducted by a polling company affiliated with a candidate or candidate committee.

The polling must be conducted after July 1 and must be completed no later than two days before the debate.

In addition to the polling requirements, candidates must also meet certain fundraising requirements to get on the debate stage.


Candidates must have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors and have at least 200 unique donors in at least 20 states or U.S. territories.

The RNC added that candidates must sign the following pledges:

  • Have signed pledge agreeing not to participate in any non-RNC sanctioned debate for the remainder of the election cycle.
  • Have signed pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee.
  • Have signed RNC data-sharing agreement.
  • Present signed pledges and agreement to the RNC no later than 48 hours prior to the first scheduled debate.

The RNC added that polling and fundraising requirements to make subsequent debates are likely to increase.

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