Candidates Get Creative to Qualify for Debate

Republicans such as Vivek Ramaswamy relying on unorthodox fundraising strategies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 17, 2023 3:03 PM CDT
Candidates Get Creative to Qualify for Debate
Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during the Family Leadership Summit, July 14, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

With six weeks until the first 2024 Republican presidential debate, some hopefuls are finding creative ways to boost their donor numbers and ensure they make it on stage, per the AP. Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy rolled out a plan to let people who raise money for his campaign keep 10% of what they take in from other donors. 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 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. That's a tall task for some of the hopefuls who aren't as well known as former President Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. It's a recognition of the make-it-or-break-it opportunity that the debate stage provides for lower-tier candidates in a large field who need media exposure to share their message and reach voters.

So who will make it? USA Today has Trump, DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Ramaswamy, Tim Scott, and Chris Christie as safe bets. On its list of maybes: Mike Pence, Will Hurd, Burgum, Asa Hutchinson, Ryan Binkley, Suarez, and Larry Elder. The full story details the prospects for each, while the full AP story has more information on the "unorthodox" fundraising tactics being employed by some. (More Election 2024 stories.)

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