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Hutchinson says if he doesn't make stage at third debate, 'we’ll reevaluate,' consider ending presidential bid

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he’ll consider dropping out of the 2024 White House race if he fails to meet the qualifications for the the third GOP presidential primary debate.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says if he fails to make the stage at the third GOP presidential nomination debate, he’ll consider dropping out of the 2024 White House race.

Hutchinson qualified for last month’s first Republican presidential primary debate, but he was the only one of the eight candidates on the stage at the Fox News hosted showdown in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who fell short in making the stage at Wednesday’s second debate, a FOX Business co-hosted event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California. The third debate will be held in Miami, Florida, in early November.

"If I don't make that, we'll reevaluate where we are," Hutchinson told reporters on Wednesday.

When asked for clarification if his response meant he would consider dropping out, Hutchinson answered, "Sure."


The Republican National Committee, which is organizing the GOP nomination debates, has mandated that candidates reach certain polling and donor thresholds to make the stage at the showdowns. The criteria for the second debate was 3% in the polls and 50,000 individual donors. The thresholds rise to 70,000 donors and 4% in the polls for the third debate.

"Four percent shows progress, and it will show that we're passing others as well," Hutchinson said. "That's the goal that I have. If I don't make that, we'll reevaluate where we are."


Asked about his absence from Wednesday’s debate, Hutchinson said, "You got to think of it as a bye week in the NFL. You don't play every weekend. You don't necessarily participate in every debate. And so there'll be another debate that will be coming up down the road. And I certainly hope to participate in that."

After the RNC on Monday night announced the lineup for Wednesday’s debate, Hutchinson vowed in a statement Monday night that "despite falling short of the RNC's polling requirement for inclusion in the second Presidential Primary Debate, I will continue our campaign to bring out the best of America with events scheduled in Iowa, New Hampshire, and across the country in the next several weeks."

Hutchinson added, "I understand that the RNC and the media are trying to reduce the number of candidates, but I measure success based on the response I receive in early primary states like Iowa and New Hampshire. My goal is to increase my polling numbers to 4% in an early state before Thanksgiving. If that goal is met, then I remain competitive and in contention for either Caucus Day or Primary Day."


"I've set as a goal to make sure that we have 4% in the polls by Thanksgiving," he reiterated on Wednesday. "I expect to be able to do that through my campaigning in Iowa, New Hampshire, some of the early states. This is still a reach. It's still a retail political environment. And if I'm not in the debate today, I'll be in Iowa taking it straight to the voters."

The Hutchinson campaign, meanwhile, is announcing on Wednesday that they're launching an artificial intelligence chatbox of the candidate to answer questions about his platform and proposals as he runs for the White House.

Hutchinson made his comments during a stop in Michigan, where he took aim at former President Donald Trump.

Trump, the commanding frontrunner in the GOP presidential nomination race, is heading to Michigan on Wednesday as he skips his second straight GOP primary debate and instead meets with autoworkers and addresses the current strike by union employees against the major U.S. automakers.

"I'm here in Detroit because I want to debate. Donald Trump is here in Detroit tonight because he wants to avoid a debate," Hutchinson, a vocal Republican critic of the former president, charged. "And I would love to have the opportunity to debate Donald Trump on his policies, on his support of workers, and bringing back manufacturing to the United States."

Pointing to Trump, Hutchinson argued, "Tonight, he's going to have an audience of a select few, and he's not going to have any tough questions. You debate me, you've got the tough questions. And there are some very important issues that we have to address as a nation that Donald Trump is trying to take us down the wrong path."

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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