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Tim Scott secures spot in third GOP debate following campaign strategy overhaul

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has secured his spot in the third GOP presidential debate in Miami next week, announcing that he has met the final requirement — gathering enough individual donations needed to qualify for the event, his campaign announced.

“We’re excited about the response our campaign has received from conservatives across the country looking for a positive, optimistic message,” Scott said in a statement shared by the campaign on Tuesday. “Republicans are ready to elect faith-filled leadership to take on the biggest challenges facing our nation today.”

Having already reached the 4% polling threshold required for the debate stage, Scott revealed during an interview on Mark Levin’s radio show last Thursday that he needed a few thousand more donations to solidify his position. On Tuesday, Scott’s campaign said that he had successfully secured those donations over the weekend.

Scott “will be on the debate stage,” his campaign staff said.

Expected to join the senator on Nov. 8 will be Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who have all confirmed they will be participating in the debate, which is being held at Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

Former President Donald Trump, who has a significant polling lead, is skipping the debate, as he has with the first two.

NBC News’ Lester Holt, Kristen Welker, and Hugh Hewitt will moderate, as the 2024 GOP hopefuls strive to gain an edge in the polls.

Scott’s latest breakthrough follows a major overhaul to his campaign strategy, as he shifts gears towards Iowa, doubling down on resources in the state and signaling a dedicated push to capturing crucial ground in the state’s upcoming Republican primary in January, amidst his campaign’s fight to elevate his platform.

In a bid to consolidate his position, the campaign also redirected planned television advertisement spending from New Hampshire to Iowa, banking on the state’s critical evangelical base to bolster the candidate’s backing.

Scott, who is polling in the single digits, far exceeded the 70,000 individual donations needed to make the debate stage, according to his campaign. But the candidate is still trailing behind his Republican rivals in polls.

Still, few 2024 GOP presidential candidates can rival the senator’s fundraising prowess. Apart from Trump, Scott holds the most available cash on hand, with about $13.3 million in his war chest, according to data from the Federal Elections Commission. This is partially attributed to his successful fundraising efforts during his 2022 reelection campaign.

And despite the decision of Scott’s allied super PAC to pull the plug on its fall TV ad spending, citing a lack of focus from the electorate for an alternative to the Trump legacy, Scott’s staff said the campaign is fully funded until the South Carolina primary in February.

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