CONCORD, N.H. – Former President Donald Trump may not be the only 2024 Republican contender to rule out participating in next month’s third GOP presidential nomination debate in Florida.
Vivek Ramaswamy would not commit to the Nov. 8 showdown in Miami.
‘I’m considering my options,’ the multimillionaire biotech entrepreneur and first-time presidential candidate told Fox News on Wednesday after filing to place his name on the presidential primary ballot in New Hampshire.
Trump, who remains the commanding polling and fundraising front-runner for the Republican nomination as he makes his third straight White House run, pointed to his enormous lead over his large field of rivals as he skipped the first two debates. Late last month, Trump campaign adviser Chris LaCivita said Trump would not take the stage at the third debate.
Trump’s campaign is calling for all future debates to be canceled and that the Republican National Committee – which is organizing the debates – should ‘refocus its manpower and money’ on defeating Democrats in next year’s election.
As first reported last month by Fox News, the RNC raised the polling and donor thresholds that 2024 primary candidates must reach to make the stage at the third debate.
To participate, each candidate must have a minimum of 70,000 unique donors to their campaign or exploratory committee, including 200 donors in 20 or more states.
The White House hopefuls must also reach 4% support in two national polls, or reach 4% in one national poll and 4% in two statewide polls conducted in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina – the four states that lead off the Republican presidential nominating calendar.
Candidates are also required to sign a pledge agreeing to support the eventual Republican presidential nominee. They must agree not to participate in any non-RNC sanctioned debates for the rest of the 2024 election cycle and agree to data-sharing with the national party committee.
Ramaswamy on Wednesday reiterated that he’s reached the criteria for the third debate but may join Trump in opting out. His campaign has been having internal discussions about whether he should participate in the Miami showdown.
The candidate, who took plenty of incoming fire from some of his onstage rivals at the first two debates, said that ‘my view is what best advances substantive debate for the future of the Republican Party and for the future of our country, and so we’re weighing what best accomplishes that.’
‘I’m going to be looking at what best does, and we’ll evaluate whether participating in that third debate really is something that moves the ball,’ he highlighted.
Ramaswamy was joined onstage at the second debate by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, former Vice President Mike Pence and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who qualified for the first debate, fell short and failed to make the stage at the second showdown.
The RNC announced Monday that it selected NBC News, Salem Radio Network, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) and Rumble as partners for the debate, which will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.
The third debate will be held almost two months before the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses, which is the leadoff contest in the 2024 GOP presidential nominating calendar.