1st GOP presidential primary debate to be held in Milwaukee Aug. 23

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Republican National Committee announced the first Republican presidential primary debate will be held in Milwaukee on Aug. 23.

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced, should enough candidates qualify to make it necessary, there will be a second debate Aug. 24. 

McDaniel also announced the criteria to qualify for the debate. The criteria are grouped below as follows: candidate status; polling; fundraising; and candidate pledging.

Candidate Status:

  • Be eligible to run (natural born U.S. citizen, resident for 14+ years, 35 years or older).
  • Have declared his or her candidacy.
  • Have an active FEC Form 2 (Statement of Candidacy) filed with the FEC in which they identify as a candidate for the Republican nomination.
  • Have an active FEC Form 1 (Statement of Organization) filed with the FEC designating the candidate’s principal campaign committee.


  • Poll at least 1% in three national polls OR 1% in two national polls and 1% in one early state poll from two separate “carve out” states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina) recognized by the RNC. For a poll to be recognized, it must:
    • Survey at least 800 registered likely Republican voters through a mix of live calls, integrated voice response, online panels, and/or text message.
    • Not overly weight responses of any individual cohort beyond the margin of the error of the poll. Ask the question on presidential preference prior to any question which may allow potential bias.
    • Not be a conducted by a polling company affiliated with a candidate or candidate committee.
  • Meet this polling requirement no later than 48 hours prior to the first scheduled debate and must be conducted on or after July 1, 2023.


  • Have a minimum of 40,000 unique donors to candidate’s principal presidential campaign committee (or exploratory committee), with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20+ states and/or territories.
  • Present this evidence to the RNC no later than 48 hours prior to the first scheduled debate.

Candidate Pledge:

  • Have signed pledge agreeing not to participate in any non-RNC sanctioned debate for the remainder of the election cycle.
  • Have signed pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee.
  • Have signed RNC data-sharing agreement.
  • Present signed pledges and agreement to the RNC no later than 48 hours prior to the first scheduled debate.

To participate in the August debate, candidates must meet all criteria listed in the four groups above.

Share this article: