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Hutchinson stays in despite missing debate stage
Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023.Charlie Neibergall / AP file

Eyes on 2024: Hutchinson stays in despite missing debate stage

The former Arkansas governor is the only Republican who made the first presidential debate to miss qualifying for the second one.

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Just one candidate will be absent from Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate stage after making the first debate: former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. 

Hutchinson failed to meet the Republican National Committee’s requirements to qualify for the contest, which stipulated that candidates garner support from at least 50,000 donors, hit at least 3% in national or state polls from early primary states and sign party pledges that include backing the eventual nominee

“Despite falling short of the RNC’s polling requirement for inclusion in the second Presidential Primary Debate, I will continue our campaign to bring out the best of America with events scheduled in Iowa, New Hampshire, and across the country in the next several weeks,” Hutchinson said in a statement after the RNC announced the debate participants Monday night. 

Hutchinson said he is aiming to hit 4% in early state polls “before Thanksgiving” (that 4% mark is also the required polling threshold to qualify for the third debate on Nov. 8).  

The former governor said he would hold a press conference in Detroit on Wednesday instead of attending the debate. There, Hutchinson plans to highlight Trump’s “false promises to blue collar and union workers,” with the former president expected to address workers there that day. Trump will also be skipping the second debate. 

While Hutchinson will not be on the stage Wednesday, seven other GOP candidates who participated in last month’s debate will be facing off again. They are North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

In other campaign news … 

Gov faceoff: DeSantis and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., are set to debate on Fox News on Nov. 30.  

Shutdown politics: Trump inserted himself into the government funding fight playing out on Capitol Hill, urging Republicans in a Truth Social post, “UNLESS YOU GET EVERYTHING, SHUT IT DOWN!,” per NBC News’ Sahil Kapur. Haley, meanwhile, told Bloomberg Government that it would be “irresponsible and inexcusable” to shut the government down, but added, “It is also irresponsible and inexcusable to not cut all of the spending.”

Constitutional conundrum: Amid attempts to bar Trump from the ballot in some states due to the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause, the former president’s attorneys argued that taking him off the ballot would violate Trump’s First Amendment right to free speech.

Second place in the Granite State: Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley edged out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov Chris Christie in a new statewide GOP presidential primary poll in New Hampshire, taking second place behind Trump.

Abortion on the airwaves: Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., is out with a new national TV ad for his presidential campaign, pushing back on the characterization that his position on abortion is extreme, per NBC News’ Nnamdi Egwuonwu. 

Sticking it out: Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., who was indicted on corruption charges last week, told reporters on Monday that he will not resign his post while his case moves forward. He did not say whether he would run for re-election in 2024.

Earmarks in question: California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff touts his support for earmarked federal spending on the campaign trail as he runs for Senate, but Politico reports that Schiff also used earmarks early in his career to secure “generous” amounts of funding for corporate beneficiaries.

He’s not driving, he’s running: Ex-NASCAR driver Austin Theriault is running as a Republican in Maine’s 2nd District for a chance to unseat Rep. Jared Golden, one of five Democrats representing a district Trump won in 2020.