DeSantis commits to first presidential debate



CEDAR RAPIDS, IOWA - MAY 13: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Although he has not yet announced his candidacy, Gov. DeSantis has received the endorsement of 37 Iowa lawmakers for the Republican presidential nomination next year. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an Iowa GOP reception on May 13, 2023 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

By Roy Francis
11:08 AM – Friday, July 7, 2023

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that he will be participating in the first Republican presidential debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On Fox News Tonight on Thursday, DeSantis (R-Fla.) said that the debates are an important part of the nomination process and that he will be there and hopes that everyone who is “eligible comes.”

“I’ll be there regardless. I hope everybody who’s eligible comes. I think it’s an important part of the process and I look forward to being able to be on the stage and introducing our candidacy and our vision and our leadership to a wide audience,” DeSantis said.

The announcement from DeSantis comes as the Republican National Committee (RNC) has been facing resistance from candidates who have criticized the requirements to qualify for the debate stage.

The RNC has required a loyalty pledge, a high donor threshold as well as polling thresholds in order for presidential candidates to qualify for the debates.

Candidates must poll at least at 1% in three national polls, or 1% in two national polls and 1% in one early state poll from two “carve out” states recognized by the RNC, which are Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The polls must survey at least 800 registered Republican voters to count.

Other than the voter threshold and the 40,000 unique donor threshold, the RNC is requiring that the candidates pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee. So far only former ambassador Nikki Haley and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott have said that they would make the vow, other candidates have pushed back or remain unclear on their decision.

45th President Donald Trump who holds a commanding lead in the Republican presidential nomination race has indicated that he may skip the first debate due to his dominating lead over all the other current candidates. However, officials in the Trump campaign have said that he has not yet made a formal decision.

Although trailing behind the former president by double digits, DeSantis said that he has faith in his campaign and the support that he has been receiving.

“Did you just see the news today about the record fundraising haul we’ve had? Nobody’s been able to match that in the history of modern presidential politics,” he said. “We’ve got a huge amount of support to be able to take the case to the people. We really haven’t started that yet. We’re in the process of building out a great organization, and I think we’re going to be on the ground in all these early states.”

45th President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis remain as the top two GOP presidential contenders.

The first debate is scheduled for August 23.