T-Minus One Month Until the First Republican Debate

(Photo of Donald Trump by Mario Tama/Getty Images. Photo of Ron DeSantis by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Happy Monday! Are you looking for an exciting new opportunity to take a leadership role in a small organization with potential for growth, all while living in a paradise on Earth? The Hawaii Republican party is seeking a new chairman after its most recent one resigned—the third chair to do so this year.

Up to Speed

  • In a Fox News interview Friday morning, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire insisted candidates could defeat former President Donald Trump in the Granite State’s GOP primary. “That’s 60 percent of the voters right now that are not with Trump in New Hampshire,” said Sununu, referring to a recent University of New Hampshire poll. “All of these candidates have to start hitting this guy. You can’t run against somebody, be twenty points down, but not be willing to talk about him,” added Sununu. When asked repeatedly if he would consider a third-party run, Sununu responded with the same answer, “No, nothing I’m looking at.”
  • Sununu’s interview comes after his announcement last week he would not seek reelection, opening up the race for the GOP nomination for governor in New Hampshire. Among those running is former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who confirmed her candidacy Monday morning on Twitter. Ayotte served one term in the Senate but narrowly lost in 2016 when Trump, at the top of the ticket, was defeated in the state.
  • Former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said on Friday he’s “left the door cracked open” for a third-party presidential run. “I finished my eight years as governor with a 77 percent approval rating. Highest in the country. It was over 70 with Democrats, independents, and Republicans,” added Hogan, the co-chair of No Labels, the centrist group considering fielding a presidential ticket in 2024. “Of course, I’m not well known across the country. But you’ve got to run a race to see what it’s gonna look like.”
  • Behind closed doors, the relationship between President Joe Biden’s administration and labor unions is rockier than advertised, according to Politico. The United Auto Workers is withholding its endorsement of Biden, and its new president, Shawn Fain, has criticized the administration for giving billions in subsidies for electric vehicles without ensuring higher wages and other protections for workers. Trump, who has the support of many rank-and-file members of the union, is “gunning” for the UAW’s endorsement.
  • Special counsel Jack Smith recently asked Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for information about efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results, according to the Washington Post. Smith also contacted Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who was pressured by Trump to reverse the close results in his state, for similar information. 

Republicans Prepare for First Debate Next Month

As of Sunday, the first debate for the 2024 Republican presidential primary is a month away. At the moment, six White House hopefuls have claimed to have passed the fundraising and polling thresholds set by the Republican National Committee to qualify for the debate: former President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota says he has raised money from at least 40,000 unique donors, but he has yet to hit 1 percent or more in at least two qualifying national polls and two qualifying state polls from different states.

Each of the qualifying candidates have indicated they will show up in Milwaukee on August 23—except for Trump. “Ronald Reagan didn’t do it, and a lot of other people didn’t do it. When you have a big lead, you don’t do it,” he told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo last week. (It’s not really clear what Trump is referring to, since Reagan did debate his primary opponents in the 1980 cycle. Reagan did not do so in 1984, when he was the incumbent president and faced nothing more than token opposition for the nomination.)  

Despite this, Trump added in his interview with Bartiromo, “I haven’t really made up my mind.” When asked by The Dispatch if Trump has made a decision about it since then, campaign spokesman Steven Cheung simply referred back to the former president’s recent comments.

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