In an interview on Friday, Mr. Elder said he’s only about halfway across the donor threshold and because his name is often omitted from Republican polls, reaching 1% may be impossible. For candidates like him, he admitted, getting on stage is essential to his campaign.
“It is fundamental for me to get on the stage of the debate; this is Plan A, and Plan B is to make Plan A work,” she said, suggesting there are no other options.
Even some candidates, such as Mr. Pence and Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, may not qualify. Mr. Pence, who easily topped the polls but fell seriously behind in fundraising, launched an email blitz Wednesday, asking 40,000 people to send $1 to his campaign. Mr. Hutchinson is still under 40,000 but he’s there 1 percent in a national qualifying survey this month.
Doug Burgum, the governor of North Dakota, may still qualify, in part because Mr. Burgum, a wealthy former software executive, is offering $20 gift cards to the first 50,000 people who donate at least $1 to his campaign. He’s also solidifying his position in early state polls with a well-funded advertising blitz.
“Gov. Burgum will absolutely be on stage for the debate next month,” said his spokesman, Lance Trover.
Mr. Burgum is not alone in his creative fundraising strategies. Mr Ramaswamy, who like Mr Burgum is wealthy enough to self-finance his presidential bid, offers donors a 10% cut. of the donations they receive from those they persuade to donate to the Ramaswamy campaign. Mr. Suarez last week he said anyone would come in sending $1 of his campaign into a lottery for Lionel Messi’s first game with Inter Miami, South Florida’s major league soccer team.