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8 Jul 2023
Nick Gilbertson

NextImg:Exclusive: GOP’s Vivek Ramaswamy on Shattering 60k Donors

Republican Presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told Breitbart News he had surpassed 60,000 unique donors, the figure reportedly under consideration for a candidate to qualify in the third presidential debate. 

Ramaswamy has already qualified for the first debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, next month, telling the Huffington Post in June he had surpassed the 40,000 donor threshold. 

“We’ve shattered 60,000,” Ramaswamy said Thursday. 

The figure is under consideration as the threshold to reach the third debate later this year in Alabama, while 50,000 unique donors is the figure reportedly being weighed for the second debate in California, the Huffington Post reported last month. 

While Ramaswamy has eclipsed the figure, as well as former Gov. Niki Haley (R-SC), as Axios reports, the 37-year-old entrepreneur told Breitbart News he thinks the threshold for the first debate should be even higher. 

“The Democrats, I think, had 60,000 as their threshold last time around, so I think that we shouldn’t hold ourselves to much lower of a standard,” Ramaswamy said. “I think that 60,000 would have been an appropriate threshold for the first or the second debate, even, but we shattered 60,000 ourselves.”

Some candidates have found the 40,000 threshold difficult to cross, Ramaswamy said. Politico noted last month that businessman Perry Johnson’s campaign had called the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) debate requirements “unprecedented,” contending that polling in early states was paramount to national polling and donation mandates. 

On the heels of the requirements being revealed, Johnson began selling t-shirts for $1 that state, “I stand with Tucker” — a reference to the former primetime Fox News host who has since taken Twitter by storm with his new show. Politico framed the initiative as either a “clever fundraising ploy or a desperate debate-stage bid.” 

Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday that he had only secured 5,000 donors, adding, “We got more work to do.” For reference, Ramaswamy and Haley have 12 times the donors of Hutchinson. 

“I’m somebody who has never run for office, barely figuring out, you know, the mechanisms of fundraising in the first few weeks of the campaign, without any lists or anything else, you know, actually being able to accomplish this, I think it should be a piece of cake for the rest of the candidates to be able to do the same thing too, but we’re seeing a lot of discussion about how that 40,000 was a difficult threshold,” Ramaswamy said.

“For us, I think the 60,000 in early July was something we were able to easily achieve, and I think that speaks to the grassroots nature of our campaign in that we’re really driving a lot of this organically,” he added. “I mean, even our spending to acquire these donors is minimal, really, compared to the traditional way that political consultants would tell you to do this is by spending money to acquire donors. What I do is when I go to events, I’ll tell people, ‘Donate a small amount, whatever you’re able to.’ On Twitter… honestly, I’ll just pick up the camera, share what’s on my mind, and tell people, ‘Hey, you don’t have to agree with me, but if you do, and you want to support these ideas, you may want to give $1 to our campaign or give $10 to our campaign for that matter.’ I think that’s been much more effective than some of the standard consultant-vetted, paid approaches.”

While he has seen a jump in donors, Ramaswamy has also seen an ascent in multiple recent polls. An Echelon Insights poll released last week showed him reaching 10 percent of support, placing him in third place, just six points behind Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL).

This followed a Morning Consult poll that showed him double his support week over week. He attributes his rise, in part, to embracing issues that other candidates have shied away from, including criticizing affirmative action and defending former President Donald Trump in light of his indictments — something Ramaswamy noted goes “against” his “self-interest” as a candidate. 

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“I think there were a number of factors where, you know, in recent weeks, there were some public positions that I’ve taken that I think has been difficult for the Republican candidates to take with the same level of unapologetic commitment that I’ve made,” he said. “But I think that our base senses the difference. And I think we’ve seen that show up in a tidal wave of small-dollar donors. I think it’s also showing up in what appears to be an upward tick in some of the recent polling.”

Related — Vivek Ramaswamy: I Would Pardon Trump if Elected