Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson fell short of the qualifications needed to participate in the second GOP presidential debate this week.
However, seven other candidates who had previously graced the stage for the first debate in August will return for another showdown in California.
The lineup for the upcoming debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, includes 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 of South Carolina.
The Republican National Committee confirmed their eligibility, as they met all three of the party’s qualifying criteria: achieving a unique donor threshold, meeting minimum polling requirements, and signing pledges to support the eventual party nominee.
Notably absent from the debate stage is former President Donald Trump, who also skipped the first GOP debate. While he comfortably met the first two requirements, he declined to sign the party pledges, a step necessary for qualification.
Governor Doug Burgum faced some challenges securing all of his qualifying polls, with success coming only on the weekend preceding the debate.
Unfortunately, former Governor Asa Hutchinson, who had participated in the first debate, failed to meet the new, more stringent polling threshold. This made Hutchinson the sole candidate from the initial debate who could not qualify for the second one.
The primary obstacle for both Hutchinson and Burgum was the polling threshold, which demanded candidates achieve higher percentages in fewer polls than the criteria for the first debate.
Neither candidate consistently reached the required 3% in national or state-level polling. Falling short of the debate stage can have significant repercussions, as demonstrated when Miami Mayor Francis Suarez withdrew from the presidential race shortly after failing to qualify for the first debate.
Despite these setbacks, Hutchinson expressed his determination to continue his presidential campaign. He emphasised his focus on gaining ground in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire, setting a goal to reach 4% in polling in one of these states before Thanksgiving.
Hutchinson believes this achievement would keep him competitive in the race and allow him to challenge Donald Trump within the Republican Party, holding him accountable for misleading his supporters and the American people.