Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson did not qualify for the second GOP presidential debate, while the other seven candidates from the first debate in August will be participating in the upcoming debate. The candidates who made the cut are North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Senator Tim Scott. These candidates met all the party’s qualifying criteria, including a unique donor threshold, a minimum polling requirement, and signed pledges to support the party’s nominee. Former President Donald Trump did not participate in the first debate and failed to qualify due to his refusal to sign the party pledges.
Hutchinson’s exclusion from the debate highlights the importance of meeting the polling threshold, which required candidates to achieve a higher mark than the previous debate’s criteria. Hutchinson, along with Burgum, struggled to consistently reach 3% in national or state-level polling. While missing out on the debate stage can impact a candidate’s visibility and campaign, Hutchinson has expressed his determination to continue his presidential race. He aims to increase his polling numbers to 4% in an early state before Thanksgiving, believing that meeting this goal will keep him competitive and in contention for the caucus or primary.
Hutchinson’s primary motivation for entering the race is to challenge Donald Trump and hold him accountable for misleading his supporters and the American people. Despite not making the debate, Hutchinson remains committed to standing up to Trump and continuing his campaign. The exclusion of Hutchinson from the debate highlights the challenges candidates face in meeting the party’s qualifying criteria and the significance of publicity gained from participating in these debates.