GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy on Sunday said “another unhelpful debate in November is not an option” for the party as he called on the Republican National Committee to limit the number of contenders to appear on the stage.
In a letter addressed to RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel, Ramaswamy’s campaign argued only the four top-performing candidates in national polls, outside of Donald Trump, who has already ruled himself out of appearing at the event, should be allowed to participate in the third GOP primary debate, scheduled for Nov. 8 in Miami.
“Against the backdrop of a chaotic second debate and the reality of a frontrunner who has declined to participate, we respectfully call on the RNC to revise its approach so that Republican voters can focus on serious candidates who have a viable path to beating Joe Biden — or whomever the Democrats put up to replace him,” Ben Yoho, Ramaswamy’s campaign CEO, wrote, according to Politico.
The RNC has so far said that, to qualify for the third debate, candidates will have to register a minimum of 4% support in two national polls or one national poll and two state-wide surveys in early-voting states, and also have to show they have at least 70,000 unique donors.
But those conditions are apparently not strict enough for Ramaswamy, who thinks a narrower field would better serve voters.
“Another unhelpful debate in November is not an option: Voters deserve a real choice for who will best serve as our party’s nominee,” Yoho added.
Ramaswamy’s campaign also requested that candidates get more time to rebut their rivals during the debate and that the event be led by just one moderator.
So far, none of the debate participants have managed to stand out as a strong challenger to Trump, who continues to dominate the race. An average of national polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight has the former president at 54.8%, followed by DeSantis at 14.1% and Ramaswamy at 7.1%, as of Sunday.
The failure of the debates to get traction was also reflected in the ratings for the Simi Valley, California, debate last week, which saw the lowest viewership for a GOP primary debate since the 2016 presidential campaign cycle.
The RNC hasn’t announced which network will host next month’s debate nor who will moderate the event.