The third Republican presidential debate will be held in Miami on Nov. 8, a day after several states hold off-year elections, and candidates will be facing the most stringent requirements yet to take part.
Participating candidates must secure 4% of the vote in multiple polls and 70,000 unique donors to earn a spot on the stage, the Republican National Committee said Friday. Party officials did not immediately respond to inquiries about who would moderate the debate.
Details of the gathering come as the broad GOP field prepares for a second primary debate without their current front-runner. Former President Donald Trump, who also skipped the first debate last month, plans to meet with current and former union workers in Michigan instead of participating in the Sept. 27 debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
The requirements for the third debate will be more challenging to meet than the second. For the second debate, candidates need at least 3% in two national polls or 3% in one national poll as well as two polls from four of the early-voting states — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, according to the RNC. The White House hopefuls must also have at least 50,000 unique donors.
The GOP hasn't confirmed the qualified participants for Wednesday's debate, but several campaigns have said they've satisfied the marks, including former Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence.
The candidates are arranged on stage based on their order in polls that meet standards set by the RNC, with higher performing candidates being closer to center stage.
Scott, who was second from the right edge of the stage for the first GOP debate last month, has proposed the RNC change how it orders the candidates for next week's debate. In a letter to Chair Ronna McDaniel, Scott's campaign argued that, since Iowa’s caucus is the leadoff to GOP balloting next year, “polling results from Iowa should be the primary consideration for podium placement at the September debate."
“The debate committee has had a very thoughtful approach to the entire process, and we continue to welcome input from all candidates, partners and stakeholders," RNC officials said of Scott's proposal. "We look forward to hosting another fair and transparent debate stage in Simi Valley.” ___
Associated Press writers Michelle L. Price in New York and Jonathan J. Cooper in Phoenix contributed to this report.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.