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Mike Pence has met criteria to qualify for first GOP primary debate

At least seven other candidates appear to have qualified. Trump has suggested he might skip the event.
Former Vice President Mike Pence arrives to the Family Leadership Summit
Former Vice President Mike Pence arrives at the Family Leadership Summit in Des Moines, Iowa, on July 14.Scott Olson / Getty Images file

Former Vice President Mike Pence has met the criteria to qualify for the first Republican presidential debate this month, his campaign said Tuesday.

Pence reached the donor threshold — 40,000 unique donors, including 200 from at least 20 states and territories — to qualify for the Aug. 23 event sponsored by the Republican National Committee.

Pence previously cleared the RNC’s polling threshold, another component of the qualifying criteria.

Fox News first reported that Pence had met the criteria. Pence’s campaign had predicted last week that he would meet the donor requirement.

At least seven other candidates have said they have satisfied the debate requirements: former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

The debate, hosted by Fox News, will take place in Milwaukee.

"Mike Pence made quick and easy work of the donor threshold and he’s looking forward to a substantive debate about the issues important to the American people,” Pence communications adviser Devin O’Malley said in a statement. “Hopefully, former President Trump has the courage to show up.”

Trump has suggested he might skip the debate and could even host a competing event that night.

If he does participate, it would set up a clash between the two former running mates shortly after Trump was indicted on charges tied to conspiring to defraud the government. The indictment referred to “contemporaneous notes” taken by Pence that detailed meetings and conversations between the two men after Trump lost the election.