GOP candidate fighting for debate stage spot says candidates ‘shouldn’t stay’ in race if they don’t qualify

RYE, N.H. – Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami, Florida, is optimistic he’ll make the stage at next week’s Fox News-hosted first Republican presidential nomination debate. “We’re planning as if we’re going to be there and we’re excited about being there. It’s the first opportunity for me to introduce myself to the country and it’s important,” Suarez emphasized in an interview with Fox News Digital. But Suarez said on Wednesday that candidates who fail to qualify for the showdown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, “shouldn’t stay in the race.” CHECK OUT INITIAL FOX NEWS POWER RANKINGS IN 2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION RACE Eight candidates have reached the polling and donor thresholds mandated by the Republican National Committee in order to qualify for the initial presidential nomination debate on Aug. 23. They are former President Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former ambassador and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and biotech entrepreneur and best-selling author Vivek Ramaswamy. WHO’S STILL FIGHTING TO MAKE THE STAGE AT THE FIRST REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE Roughly a half dozen Republican White House hopefuls are still aiming to make the stage. That list includes Suarez, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, former CIA spy and former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, Michigan businessman and quality control leader Perry Johnson, and Larry Elder, a former talk radio host who was a candidate for governor in the 2021 California recall election. Suarez has hit the donor criteria but is still short of reaching the polling thresholds. “We’re planning as if we’re going to be there and we’re excited about being there. It’s the first opportunity for me to introduce myself to the country and it’s important,” Suarez said minutes before headlining the latest edition of former Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s “No BS Backyard BBQ” series with the GOP presidential contenders in the seaside town of Rye, New Hampshire WHO’S UP AND WHO’S DOWN IN BRAND-NEW FOX NEWS 2024 GOP PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION POLL Suarez, who’s not well known outside of south Florida, stressed that “for someone like me, it’s critical” to make the debate stage. “People have a real opportunity to know my story, to get to know me as a person and to understand why I am the best person, the best choice, to lead this country into the future,” Suarez added. But asked what’s next if he doesn’t qualify, Suarez pointedly noted that “if a candidate doesn’t make the debate stage, doesn’t make the minimum thresholds, they shouldn’t stay in the race.” “It’s very hard to get to a higher threshold to make the second debate if you’re not even on the first debate,” he highlighted. “I think any candidate that doesn’t make the first debate should think long and hard about it because time is valuable and you shouldn’t be taking time – or trying to take away time from people who are fighting to get their message out there.”
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