Six Republicans say they’ve met GOP debate thresholds

FILE – The Republican National Committee logo is shown on the stage as crew members work at the North Charleston Coliseum, Jan. 13, 2016, in North Charleston, S.C., in advance of Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate. The opening Republican presidential debate of the 2024 election season will take place in Milwaukee this August, the Republican National Committee decided Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt, File)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and Tim Scott have met the Republican National Committee’s polling and fundraising thresholds to earn invitations to the first GOP presidential primary debate next month, according to POLITICO’s qualification tracking. 

With under six weeks until the debate, some hopefuls are finding creative ways to boost their donor numbers and ensure they make it on stage. 

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is offering $20 Mastercard or Visa gift cards in return for campaign donations of as little as $1. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is putting up a chance to see Argentine soccer legend Lionel Messi’s Miami debut, the Associated Press reported earlier this week. 

The unusual efforts are in response to a Republican National Committee requirement that participants in the Aug. 23 debate in Milwaukee raise money from at least 40,000 donors across the country.  

In addition to the donor threshold, Republican candidates must earn at least 1% in three high-quality polls between July 1 and Aug. 21. They must also sign a pledge backing the eventual 2024 Republican nominee.