The Republican National Committee (RNC) is set to consider changing its requirement that candidates must only participate in GOP-organized debates next week, The Washington Post reported Friday.

To participate in the RNC’s debates, candidates must have met a list of criteria, including donor and polling thresholds, while also signing several loyalty pledges, including one barring them from taking part in other similar events not sanctioned by the national party. RNC officials will consider a proposal to withdraw this pledge the same week as the fourth GOP primary debate on Wednesday, multiple sources familiar told The Post.

Former President Donald Trump, who has skipped the first three debates, has called on the RNC to cancel the remainder of the primary debates. Other candidates have criticized the RNC’s rules for not allowing them to square off in other public forums not organized by the committee, according to The Post.

“Whether the RNC should be the ones controlling that, I don’t know if that is necessarily the right way,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Nov. 20 during a Newsmax town hall.

Conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie previously agreed to a joint appearance on Fox News, which was canceled after the RNC warned them against it, according to The Post. Both candidates took to Twitter to voice their frustration, with Ramaswamy arguing “the GOP needs more actual argument on substance, not fake one-liners,” and Christie lamenting that “Voters need more information not less.”

To participate in the fourth GOP debate, candidates must have received 80,000 unique donors with at least 200 coming from 20 different states or territories. GOP hopefuls also have to be polling at 6% or more in two national polls, or 6% in one national and in two key early state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.

The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Nov. 9 and Nov. 28, indicates Trump is leading the field with 62%, followed by DeSantis with 13.6%, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley with 9.6%, Ramaswamy with 4.8%, Christie with 2.2%, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum with 0.6% and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson with 0.5%.

Only Trump, DeSantis and Haley are averaging above 6% support in Iowa, and Trump, Haley, Christie, DeSantis and Ramaswamy are registering with 6% or more in New Hampshire, according to the RCP average. In South Carolina, Trump, Haley and DeSantis are the only candidates with an RCP average greater than 6%.

The RNC did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

Mary Lou Masters on December 1, 2023

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