The Republican National Committee has set a date for the fourth debate of the 2024 primaries — over the objection of the party’s front-runner, Donald J. Trump — and incrementally ratcheted up the criteria to make the stage, according to a memo sent to campaigns on Friday.
The next debate, the party told campaigns, will be in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 6. Candidates will be required to have a minimum of 80,000 unique donors and to have reached 6 percent in two national polls, or in one national poll and in one poll in one of the four early states.
The previous criteria had been 4 percent in the polls and 70,000 donors, a level that some of the candidates, including Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, had struggled to reach for the November debate in Miami, although Mr. Christie met it and Mr. Scott is expected to. Other debate attendees next week will be Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.
The debate field has been steadily shrinking: Former Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the first two debates, announced he was ending his 2024 bid last week, and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota appears at risk of missing the next debate. Former Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, who made the first debate, has fallen short of the criteria since.
Mr. Trump and his top advisers have lobbied the party to cancel the remaining debates because he is so far ahead in the polls.
In a statement last month, Susie Wiles and Chris LaCivita of the Trump campaign had called for the party to nix all the debates, including next week’s contest in Miami, “in order to refocus its manpower and money on preventing Democrats’ efforts to steal the 2024 election.” Mr. Trump has repeatedly echoed versions of that thought on his social media website.