Asa Hutchinson misses out as seven candidates qualify for second GOP debate

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson fell short of qualifying for the second GOP presidential primary debate this week, but the seven other candidates who were there for the first debate in August will be back onstage Wednesday in California.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., have all qualified for the second debate Wednesday at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, the Republican National Committee said in a statement.

That means they met all three of the party’s qualifying criteria — a unique donor threshold, a minimum polling requirement and signed pledges that include supporting the party’s eventual nominee. Former President Donald Trump, who also skipped the first GOP debate, easily surpassed the first two requirements, according to NBC News’ analysis. But he has refused to sign the party pledges, without which he can’t qualify.

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