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Will Hurd at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa
Will Hurd at the Republican Party of Iowa's 2023 Lincoln Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 28, 2023.Sergio Flores / AFP - Getty Images file

Hurd says Trump is ‘setting the example’ by not signing debate pledge

Hurd says he will “deal with the consequences” of not signing the pledge if he qualifies for the first GOP presidential debate on August 23.


Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who is running for the GOP presidential nomination, reiterated his refusal to sign the party’s pledge to support its nominee and argued that he’s following the lead of the race’s frontrunner, former President Donald Trump. 

Trump said last week he wouldn’t sign the pledge, which is required by the Republican National Committee to attend at least its first two presidential debates. And while Hurd still says he’s trying to meet the party’s other criteria to make the debate, he told NBC News he isn’t budging on his reluctance to sign the pledge. 

“Donald Trump is setting the example of not signing the pledge, and we’ll see how the RNC and Fox handles that if he decides to show up to the debate,” Hurd told NBC News on Tuesday. “I’ve been very clear, I’m not saying the pledge as is and I will deal with the consequences that happen.” 

Hurd added that his campaign needs just 2,000 more unique donors to hit the party’s donation requirement of 40,000 unique donors (including smaller thresholds across 20 different states). He’s still short of the party’s polling threshold, which he must hit too, and has until the end of Monday to meet that. 

But it would all be moot if he chooses not to sign the party’s pledge. While it’s possible the party changes course, there’s no indication it would do so. 

As part of his pitch to reach the donor threshold, Hurd tweeted, “I was the last to announce my candidacy 53 days ago. Others spent millions and gave away gift cards and free merch to hit the 40,000 donor threshold. I did none of that. I’ve only told you the truth & now we are SO close to hitting the goal.”

When pressed on whether there will be a strategy shift if Hurd does not make the debate stage, he told NBC News, “my goal is always focus on priority number one, and we know what that is between now and August 23.”