But hundreds of thousands more likely went to another offbeat play: Promising those who gave a dollar to his campaign a $20 gift card in return, all in Burgum’s attempt to meet a requirement set by the Republican National Committee that candidates have 40,000 unique donors, including 200 in 20 different states or territories.
That move worked, with Burgum saying so passed the donor threshold last week.
« Governor Burgum looks forward to sharing his focus on the economy, energy and national security at the debate in August, » Burgum spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement. « In less than 7 weeks, Governor Burgum passed all of the debate requirements. »
Burgum qualified on Tuesday, when he topped the poll mark by hitting 1% in the a national survey published by Morning Consult. It had previously scored 6% in a Granite State survey by the University of New Hampshire and 3% in a Fox Business survey in Iowa, along with 1% in a national survey by Louisiana-based JMC Analytics and Polling.
Six other candidates have already qualified, according to POLITICO’s monitoring: Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Chris Christie and Tim Scott.
But there are questions about whether all seven qualified candidates will show up, especially the former president. Trump has publicly balked at whether he wants to make the trip, seemingly reluctant to give other contenders a chance to try out the front runners and potentially improve their standing.
Other candidates may also take the stage. Former Vice President Mike Pence and former Governor Asa Hutchinson both hit polling thresholds, according to POLITICO’s analysis, but neither reached 40,000 donors.
POLITICO’s tracking of debate qualifications automatically included polls from two nationally known pollsters: the University of New Hampshire and the Fox Business Network. POLITICO also included the Morning Consult polls after the RNC confirmed that the polls met the methodological requirements for inclusion.
An RNC spokesperson, however, did not respond to POLITICO’s repeated questions about whether the JMC Analytics and Polling survey, along with other recent surveys, met the methodological rules.
Burgum and other candidates, argue that the JMC poll matters – and a simple reading of the RNC rules by POLITICO agrees with that interpretation.
Hutchinson similarly met the poll threshold with the inclusion of the JMC poll, which his campaign also said met the requirements. POLITICO includes polls in its debate tracker that, on their face, meet the methodological requirements, even if they come from lesser-known pollsters.
POLITICO’s decision to include – or not to include – a poll in our debate analysis is not an endorsement of the veracity of any particular pollster or methodology, just a reading of the rules of the RNC debate.