Chris Christie Might Miss the Cut for the Fourth GOP Debate

The former New Jersey governor has said he will qualify for the debate, but he likely doesn’t have the necessary polling support.
Chris Christie Might Miss the Cut for the Fourth GOP Debate
Republican presidential candidates (L-R), former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) walk onstage during the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami, Fla., on Nov. 8, 2023. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Austin Alonzo
12/1/2023
Updated:
12/1/2023
0:00

Who will be on stage at the fourth Republican debate? The higher set of criteria imposed by the Republican National Committee could narrow the field.

The next debate, organized by the Republican National Committee (RNC), will be held on Dec. 6 at the Moody Music Building on the University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa.

The debate will be broadcast by NextStar Media Inc.’s NewsNation and simulcast on The CW at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Elizabeth Vargas, anchor of NewsNation’s “Elizabeth Vargas Reports,” Megyn Kelly, host of “The Megyn Kelly Show” on SiriusXM, and Eliana Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon, are scheduled to moderate, according to a NewsNation release.

Requirements are higher for the fourth debate, which could keep some candidates off the stage.

According to the RNC, the debaters will need to meet a threshold of 6 percent support in two national polls or 6 percent in one national poll and 6 percent in two of the first states on the primary calendar: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina. Polls must be conducted after Sept. 15 and before Dec. 4.

Moreover, debaters must present evidence to the RNC no later than 48 hours before the event that they have at least 80,000 unique donors and at least 200 unique donors per state or U.S. territory.

On Nov. 28, RNC officials contacted by The Epoch Times declined to say who would qualify. Carly Shanahan, a spokeswoman for NewsNation, said the RNC will put out a list of candidates who will be participating next week.

Based on that criteria, however, former President Donald Trump and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley should both qualify based on polling data and publicly available donor data.

Donald Trump

President Trump, the frontrunner, continues to skip the debates and has questioned their necessity. Furthermore, he is technically disqualified since he has not signed an RNC candidate pledge requiring his support of the eventual GOP nominee.

Currently, President Trump’s Truth Social account and official campaign website do not indicate he is planning on attending the debate. Instead, on his social media account, he is celebrating his wide lead in the polls.

The latest national poll, published by Morning Consult on Nov. 28, said President Trump leads the national field with the support of 64 percent of likely primary voters. The same poll placed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 14 percent, Ms. Haley at 10 percent, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy at 6 percent, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 3 percent. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum both polled at 1 percent.

The latest poll comparing the most likely nominees—President Trump and President Joe Biden—conducted by HarrisX handicapped the bout at a 4 percent advantage for President Trump.

From a finance standpoint, President Trump leads his GOP rivals in fundraising by a wide margin, too.

His principal campaign committee, Donald J. Trump for President 2024 Inc., raised $60.5 million in total receipts through the first nine months of 2023, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filings. That committee listed 834,000 individual contributions at the time.

Nikki Haley

Ms. Haley is gaining further interest from fundraisers and Republican boosters with crucial endorsements from Americans for Prosperity and JP Morgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon on Nov. 28 and Nov. 29. She should be a lock for the debate.

The latest national polls show Ms. Haley narrowly trailing Mr. DeSantis. Along with 10 percent support in the Morning Consult poll, Ms. Haley was listed with 9 percent support in an Emerson College Polling national poll published on Nov. 22.

Haley should meet the fundraising qualification with 160,903 individual contributions listed, according to the FEC. Her main campaign committee—Nikki Haley for President Inc.—reported $18.7 million in total receipts for the 2023 cycle at the end of September.

Ron DeSantis

In an email to The Epoch Times, Gabby Wiggins, a spokeswoman for the DeSantis campaign, said Mr. DeSantis has reached the donor threshold and “qualified for the fourth debate.”

Gov. DeSantis meets the polling goal with his support in the Harris poll as well as 8 percent support in the Emerson poll.

According to FEC filings, Mr. DeSantis’s main committee—Ron DeSantis for President—listed about 46,000 individual contributions. The same committee reported $31.2 million in total receipts in its October quarterly filing.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, a persistent critic of RNC leadership, can make a strong case to appear on the debate stage based on his polling figures.

Tricia McLaughlin, a spokeswoman for the Ramaswamy campaign, said her candidate received confirmation from NewsNation that Mr. Ramaswamy will be on stage. Moreover, she said the candidate has more than 150,000 unique donors backing him.

The Morning Consult poll, as well as a poll published by Fox News, which indicated 7 percent support among likely Republican primary voters, both placed him above the 6 percent national threshold.

His main committee—Vivek 2024—outraised Ms. Haley through October, according to its latest filing with the FEC. It listed $26.6 million in total receipts.

Chris Christie

Mr. Christie has publicly announced he qualified for the fourth debate. However, he has never met the 6 percent national support threshold required by the RNC, according to a compilation of polls published by RealClearPolitics.

In addition, Mr. Christie does not have the early state support required by the RNC, according to RealClearPolitics.

In New Hampshire, where Mr. Christie is currently focusing his campaign, he is polling well ahead of Mr. DeSantis. The last poll, published on Nov. 17 by Monmouth University, placed his support at 11 percent among likely Republican primary voters in the Granite State.

Despite this, Mr. Christie is not getting the needed support in Iowa, South Carolina, or Nevada in the currently available polls.

Mr. Christie lagged his rival significantly in fundraising, according to the October FEC report. His committee—Chris Christie for President Inc.—brought in $5.4 million in total receipts on the strength of 5,442 contributions.

Austin Alonzo covers U.S. political and national news for The Epoch Times. He has covered local, business and agricultural news in Kansas City, Missouri, since 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri. You can reach Austin via email at [email protected]