published : 2023-10-01

The Race to the White House: GOP Presidential Candidates Face Rising Scrutiny

Republican White House contenders facing rising debate criteria and fundraising scrutiny may call it quits in the coming weeks

A photo of Chris Sununu, the Governor of New Hampshire, discussing the need for the field to shrink in the Republican nomination race. (Taken with Nikon D850)

With the thresholds to qualify for the next Republican presidential nomination debate rising, and crucial fundraising reports from the campaigns due in the coming days, the still relatively-large field of GOP White House hopefuls may be slashed in the weeks to come.

Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who flirted with a 2024 run before deciding against it, has been saying for months that the field in the Republican presidential nomination race needs to shrink.

"If you don’t make the first couple of debates, then you probably have to have a tough conversation and get out of the race," Sununu said.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who made the stage at the first two Republican showdowns, told his rivals who "haven’t made the stage" at the debates, "it’s time to go."

So far, only one White House hopeful has called it quits.

An image of Chris Christie, former Governor of New Jersey, urging rivals who haven't made the debate stage to drop out of the race. (Taken with Canon EOS R)

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez suspended his campaign after failing to make the stage at the first Republican presidential nomination debate.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who failed to qualify for Wednesday's second debate, says if he fails to make the stage at the third GOP presidential nomination debate, he’ll consider dropping out.

Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, who failed to qualify for the first two debates, is now considering a pivot to run for the open Senate seat in his home state.

Former Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, also failing to make the stage at the first two debates, is evaluating whether he has the resources to continue his campaign.

GOP contender Larry Elder, a former radio host and candidate in the California gubernatorial recall election, failed to qualify for the first two debates.

A snapshot of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who suspended his campaign after failing to qualify for the first Republican nomination debate. (Taken with Sony Alpha a7 III)

Former President Donald Trump, holding a commanding lead in the GOP presidential nomination race, has decided not to attend the third debate.

A lackluster fundraising report could be the death knell for some of the struggling candidates.

Veteran Republican consultant Alex Castellanos predicts that smaller contenders will soon drop out, allowing the field to coalesce and the true test for Donald Trump to emerge.

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