Republican presidential nominee Asa Hutchinson wants to take the podium at the first Republican National Committee primary debate in August.
But first he has to earn it.
Hutchinson — along with all Republican candidates — must poll 1% or higher in a certain number of polls and have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, with at least 200 individual donors from 20 different states, according to a release from the RNC Friday.
The committee’s latest requirements come amid a rapidly growing field of hopeful Republican nominees, with more announcements coming next week.
Hutchinson said he was confident he would pass the 1% electoral threshold, but called on potential voters to donate to his campaign during his final visit to Iowa on Thursday ahead of the annual Roast and Ride by US Senator Joni Ernst.
“I want to be on the debate stage in August,” the former governor of Arkansas told a group of about 30 people gathered at the Mid-States Companies office in Nevada, Iowa. We’ll get there, but we need your help. $1 counts. $5 counts.’
The new criteria for the upcoming debate reflect a different approach than the GOP debate hosted by Fox in August 2015. one for those who didn’t make the top ten.
Republican candidates will also have to sign a pledge of loyalty requiring the contenders to support the eventual GOP presidential nominee if they want to participate in the 2024 debates, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel told CNN’s “State of the Union” in February.
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“The RNC is committed to a fair, neutral, and transparent primary process, and the eligibility criteria outlined will put our party and the final nominee in the best position to take back the White House in November 2024,” McDaniel stated in the release. outlines the criteria for the first primary debate in Milwaukee on August 23.
On Thursday, Hutchinson shared his distaste for the donation demands, saying spending money rather than emphasizing a candidate’s strengths was a priority.
“That’s too high a threshold. It’s the duty of Iowa voters to narrow the field and they’re doing it well,” he told the Register. He declined to comment on the number of donations he has received so far.
Ray Dearin, of Ames, told the Register Tuesday night that while he’s not sure whether 40,000 donations are fair, he agrees there must be a way to limit the number of applicants.
“I hope he makes it. I’m still not sure about 40,000,” Dearin said. But “you have to draw the line somewhere.”
Hutchinson spoke to attendees about his top priorities if he took office, including cutting “excessive” federal spending, increasing energy production in the US, securing the southern border and protecting values such as families and “individual lives.”
He also joked about the sudden popularity of the “non-Trump job” – a view that there is a need for “different leadership” – a job he said ran alone for a long time.
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“It’s not lonely anymore,” he said, pointing to some Republicans about to announce their presidential bids. “What does this tell you? It says the l
eaders of our party say…we need different leadership.”
Virginia Barreda is the Des Moines city government reporter for the Register. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @vbarreda2.
This article originally appeared on USATNetwork: Asa Hutchinson asks Iowans to donate to campaign to reach debate stage