Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who is running for the GOP’s presidential nomination, appears to have met the qualifications of the Republican National Committee to hold this week’s primary debate in Milwaukee.
According to an NBC News political unit analysis, Hutchinson’s campaign appeared to have passed the RNC’s voting threshold. But his campaign announced on Sunday that it had also reached the minimum threshold of 40,000 unique donors to qualify for the first debate on August 23, sponsored by the RNC.
He is also expected to sign the party’s pledge to support the eventual nominee, despite his repeated criticism of that pledge related to his opposition to former President Donald Trump.
In a statement shared by his campaign on Sunday, Hutchinson said: “I am grateful to the tens of thousands of Americans who contributed to my campaign and ensured that my message of consistent, common sense and conservative leadership is represented on the debate stage this Wednesday. evening.”
“I intend to continue to speak the truth when it comes to Donald Trump’s responsibility for the attacks on our democracy and justice system. I look forward to a substantive debate in Milwaukee,” he added.
Nine other contenders appear to have been cleared for the debate phase: former President Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum , former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson.
Trump has decided not to attend the debate this week and is seeking a sit-down interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson as a means of counter-programming the event, NBC News reported Friday, citing two sources who be familiar with his thinking.
Hutchinson, who has been an outspoken critic of Trump during the campaign trail, says that while the former president is in the “default position,” he thinks voters are open-minded, willing to weigh alternatives and will use the debate to explore other options. options.
“People look to that debate as an opportunity to contrast the candidates. The first time, here in Iowa, New Hampshire, across the country,” Hutchinson said. “That is their first way of measuring the candidates side by side. So it’s important.”
Candidates have until Monday night to confirm they meet the party’s criteria, and it’s unclear whether other candidates will do so before that deadline.
The field won’t be set until the RNC officially declares which candidates have qualified — the NBC News political unit has analyzed party criteria to see which candidates appear to have met the party’s polling and fundraising thresholds.
This article was originally published on NBCNews.com