The Republican National Committee has set a date for the fourth 2024 primary debate — over the objection of party front-runner Donald J. Trump — and gradually tightened the criteria to take the stage, according to a memo sent to the campaigns on Friday.
The next debate, the party told the campaigns, will be in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 6. Candidates must have at least 80,000 unique donors and have reached 6 percent in two national polls or in one national poll and one poll in one of the top four states.
The previous benchmarks were 4 percent in the polls and 70,000 donors, a level that some of the candidates, including Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, struggled to reach in the November debate in Miami . though Mr. Christie met it, and Mr. Scott expected. Other attendees at the debate next week will be Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
The debate field is steadily shrinking: Former Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the first two debates, announced he was ending his 2024 bid last week, and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota is in danger of losing the next debate. Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who held the first debate, has since been ineligible.
Mr. Trump and his top advisers have pressured the party to cancel the rest of the debates because he is so far ahead in the polls.
In a statement last month, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita of the Trump campaign had asked the party to halt all discussions, including next week’s contest in Miami, “in order to refocus manpower and money of preventing the Democrats from trying to steal the 2024 election.” Mr. Trump has repeatedly echoed versions of this thought on his social media site.