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RNC sets first Republican presidential primary debate for Aug. 23

Pence won't be charged, GOP 2024 field grows
Pence won't be charged, GOP 2024 field to expand: Where Republicans stand heading into June 04:54

Washington — The Republican National Committee has scheduled the first debate of the presidential primary season for Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and could add another session the following day if enough candidates qualify, the RNC announced Friday.

The committee also laid out the criteria required for candidates to participate. Candidates must have at least 1% in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and one early state poll recognized by the RNC. They must also have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, including at least 200 unique donors in 20 individual states or territories. 

"I am excited to announce the criteria for our first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee on August 23," RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. "The RNC is committed to putting on a fair, neutral, and transparent primary process and the qualifying criteria set forth will put our party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House come November 2024." 

Candidates will also be required to sign a pledge not to participate in non-RNC-sanctioned debates, and vow to support the party's eventual nominee for president. 

The GOP field is growing, with former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie expected to formally jump into the race next week. They will join former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and four other candidates who have already launched their candidacies.

The RNC had previously said the first debate would be in August, but hadn't yet confirmed a date.

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