First Republican presidential debate is approaching. Who’ll be on stage?

Jul 31, 2023, 9:00 PM

Republican presidential candidate former president Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Party of I...

Republican presidential candidate former president Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, July 28, 2023. The former President is one of seven candidates to have qualfiied for the first GOP presidential debate on Aug. 23. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

SALT LAKE CITY — The first Republican presidential debate of the 2024 election cycle will be held Aug. 23 in Milwaukee.

Currently, there is a field of at least 13 candidates who are vying to get the Republican nomination for next year’s race. However, the Republican National Committee has a couple of requirements that must be met before a candidate can appear on stage.

The first of these is a candidate must have 1% of the vote in “three high-quality polls.” Secondly, a candidate must have a minimum of 40,000 donors with 200 in 20 or more states. 

Former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes joined KSL NewsRadio to discuss who has qualified for the debate. 


“Those numbers just feel arbitrary to me,” Hughes said. “I know what they’re trying to do. They just want read-deal candidates that can raise money and like they have some trajectory.” 

The field of candidates for Republican presidential debate

The AP reports that seven candidates have already qualified for the first debate. This includes former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Bergum and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.

Former President Trump has stated that he might not attend the debate.

“I love debates,” Hughes said. “I just absolutely love them. And I think the President does very well in those debates. I think he speaks with a candor that you don’t hear from politicians. And I think it really does resonate with everyday people. So, I think he does well in debates.”

If President Trump decided not to participate, many of the candidates will likely go after DeSantis. The Florida governor is running second to the former president in many polls.

“But that’s not dumb for Trump to let the number two guy take all the heat, is it?” Hughes asked. 

Candidate on the rise

Scott is quietly gaining momentum as the debate approaches.

“He’s getting more and more press,” KSL NewsRadio’s Maura Carabello said. “And his fundraising is going wild right now.”

Hughes says Scott is an individual who could emerge from the debate as a legitimate candidate for the nomination.

“But even in the campaign going forward,” he said. “If you’re getting that kind of, generating that kind of support early on, like right now, I think it only grows from here.”

Additionally, Hughes says the only other candidate he would like to see added to the debate is former Vice President Mike Pence.

“If the former vice president is willing to be in that debate,” Hughes said. “I don’t know how you keep him off the stage.”

Read more: Former Gov. Herbert on field of 2024 GOP presidential candidates

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First Republican presidential debate is approaching. Who’ll be on stage?