To qualify for the first 2024 presidential primary debate, Republican candidates might need to ratchet up their campaign fundraising operations.
Citing a source familiar with the discussions, Axios reports that the Republican National Committee is planning to require a certain number of unique individual donors to make the cut for the debate stage, mimicking a Democrat tactic in 2020.
While internal talks have suggested 40,000 and 50,000 as possible targets, discussions are ongoing about the exact number of donors to require and the source said the number could change before the RNC vote in February.
“This is a smart move by the RNC,” Republican digital strategist Eric Wilson told Axios. “The data shows the new donors our candidates bring into the party will benefit Republicans up and down the ballot cycle over cycle.”
According to a report from the Center for Campaign Innovation, nearly twice as many people donated to Democrat candidates compared to Republican ones during the 2020 election cycle. The report credited the Democrat donor requirement for the discrepancy, saying it “helped drive an increase in volume of donors.”
The Democrat requirement of 65,000 unique donors for the party’s presidential candidates increased with each debate and provided a substantial boost to grassroots fundraising, as campaigns dedicated resources to pursuing financial supporters.
Republicans have been seeking ways to expand their limited donor base and fundraising experts told Axios the donor requirement to debate could be just what they’re looking for.
Senior officials within the GOP have warned for months that the party is burning its existing donors out without making inroads with new donors, possibly plateauing its financial base.
Former President Donald Trump’s staggering fundraising success is unmatched on the Republican side, but it’s making it difficult for other Republicans to raise money and could hobble rivals for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
Lacking Trump’s committed core of financial supporters, other candidates risk being significantly outspent.
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