One GOP presidential candidate has called for major changes to which candidates can participate in the upcoming third GOP primary debate.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur and candidate for president, has called on the Republican National Committee to update its rules for how candidates qualify for the third primary debate. The next one is scheduled to take place on November 8 in Miami.
The CEO of Ramaswamy’s campaign, Ben Yoho, sent a letter to the RNC Saturday night in which he wrote that he believes the RNC should only allow the top four candidates according to national polling to appear on the debate stage.
That doesn’t include former President Donald Trump, who has skipped each of the first two debates and doesn’t have plans to attend any primary debates at all. In fact, one of Trump’s campaign advisers, Chris LaCivita, said following the second debate last Wednesday that Trump wouldn’t be attending the third debate in Florida.
Yoho asked the RNC to also include the threshold for donors to be increased to 100,000 unique donors. Currently, the RNC sets the debate criteria at 70,000 unique donors.
The campaign CEO also wrote that there should be “greater time for candidates to respond to their competitors.” Yoho further requested a single moderator for the debate “who is able to enforce debate rules and avoid candidates indiscernibly shouting over each other.”
As Yoho wrote:
“Another unhelpful debate in November is not an option. Voters are not well-served when a cacophony of candidates with minimal chance of success talk over each other from the edge of the stage, while the overwhelming frontrunner is absent from the center of that same stage.”
The second primary debate that was held last month had seven different presidential candidates on the same stage. Almost constantly throughout the night, candidates were talking over each other, making it hard for any candidate to get their point across – and for viewers to follow what was being said.
The polling and donor thresholds that the RNC set for the GOP’s third primary debate are actually higher than the previous two, which in itself could result in fewer candidates participating.
Last month, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, another GOP presidential candidate, sent various letters to the RNC asking that they make polling numbers in early primary states a bigger factor than they have been for placement on the debate stage. He also requested that the threshold for early state polling be set at 7% at least.
No campaign has the power to force the RNC to adjust the rules for debates. However, they can lobby the RNC to make changes.
The RNC hasn’t commented on the letters that the Scott and Ramaswamy campaigns have sent them.
Right now, candidates who want to qualify for the next campaign must reach at least 4% of support in two different national polls, or they have to have a combination of 4% support in one national poll as well as 4% in two different polls in early primary states.