Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a 2024 Republican presidential candidate, did not qualify for the second GOP debate, while seven other candidates who participated in the first debate in August will be present. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., have all met the criteria set by the Republican National Committee to participate in the debate. These criteria include a unique donor threshold, a minimum polling requirement, and signed pledges to support the party’s eventual nominee. Although former President Donald Trump surpassed the first two requirements, he refused to sign the party pledges, disqualifying him from participating in the debate.
For Hutchinson, and to a lesser extent Burgum, the main obstacle was the polling threshold. Both candidates struggled to consistently reach 3% support in national or state-level polls. Missing out on the debate stage and the accompanying publicity has proven costly in the past, leading some candidates, like Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, to drop out of the race. Despite not qualifying for the debate, Hutchinson expressed his intention to continue his campaign, emphasizing his goal of increasing his polling numbers to 4% in an early state before Thanksgiving. He has positioned himself as a leader in the Republican Party who is willing to challenge Trump and criticize his misleading statements.
In conclusion, Asa Hutchinson did not make the cut for the second GOP debate, while seven other candidates who participated in the previous debate qualified. The main stumbling block for Hutchinson and Burgum was the polling threshold, which they couldn’t consistently meet. Missing out on the debate carries significant consequences, but Hutchinson intends to continue his campaign and focuses on increasing his polling numbers. He sees himself as a Republican leader who confronts Trump’s deception and intends to keep doing so.