The Republican National Committee has confirmed the participation of five candidates in the upcoming third Republican presidential debate, with notable absence being former President Donald J. Trump, the leading contender in the primary. The debate, scheduled to take place in Miami, is happening just a short distance from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence. This marks the third consecutive debate that Trump has chosen not to participate in.
Candidates had to meet specific criteria to qualify for the debate. They needed to poll at 4 percent or higher in two national polls or achieve 4 percent in one national poll and 4 percent in two state polls held in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina, which hold early contests. The polling had to involve a minimum of 800 likely Republican voters and adhere to certain standards to minimize bias. Additionally, candidates were required to have at least 70,000 campaign donors, including 200 donors from 20 states or territories.
The deadline for candidates to meet these requirements was Monday evening. They also had to pledge their support for the eventual Republican nominee, a pledge that Trump has chosen not to sign.
The debate stage has notably shrunk since the first event held in August. Former Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who had been a vocal Trump critic, qualified for the initial debate but did not meet the requirements for the second or third debate. Governor Doug Burgum of North Dakota also failed to qualify for the third debate as he struggled to reach the necessary polling threshold. Despite these challenges, Burgum remains in the race, with polling at around 1 percent in national polls.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who appeared at the first two debates, dropped out of the race last week due to signs that he would not qualify for this debate.