Candidates for the Republican nomination for the 2024 United States presidential election who have publicly expressed their support or disdain for certain crypto-related policies will be meeting for a debate for the first time.
At the time of publication, eight Republican candidates are expected to appear in Milwaukee on Aug. 23 in the party’s first debate ahead of the 2024 election season. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, the party frontrunner currently facing multiple criminal indictments related to his alleged role in attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election and other crimes, has publicly stated he will not be appearing with the other candidates.
The Aug. 23 event will be the first time many of the Republican candidates will be in the same room amid a political campaign that has seen them targeting their rivals. Though it’s unclear if cryptocurrencies and blockchain will be mentioned at the debate, some of the candidates have explicitly mentioned plans to include the technology in policies should they win the party nomination and the presidential election.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is trailing by double digits to Trump according to several polls, will be the leading candidate among the eight contenders. In July, the Florida governor promised to ban central bank digital currencies in the U.S. should he be elected president, citing concerns about giving the government authority over consumer payments. He previously signed a bill aimed at largely prohibiting the use of a federally issued digital dollar in Florida.
Vivek Ramaswamy, who at 38 years old is the youngest candidate in the running, has advocated for the 2024 election to be a “referendum on fiat currency.” He spoke at the Bitcoin 2023 conference in Miami to announce his campaign would be accepting Bitcoin (BTC) donations, later receiving praise from X CEO Elon Musk as a “promising” candidate.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, who gained popularity in the space for promoting pro-crypto policies in his city, entered the presidential race in June. During his time as mayor, he announced he would accept certain paychecks in BTC and was involved in the MiamiCoin (MIA) token project for Miami residents.
Suarez said in a now-deleted post on X (formerly Twitter) on Aug. 18 he had qualified to appear at the Republican debate. However, this claim was contradicted by GOP officials on Aug. 21 following an announcement regarding the debate participant list, which included eight names, with Suarez not among them.
The other candidates appearing on Aug. 23 will be North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., another presidential candidate who has expressed pro-crypto views and purchased BTC for his children, is running as a Democrat and will not speak in Milwaukee.
The 2024 elections in the U.S. could change the way the government addresses digital asset policies, with a party shakeup possible in the House of Representatives, Senate and White House. Republicans currently hold a majority in the House, but all 435 seats will be up for election in November 2024. In the Senate, where Democrats have a slim majority, 34 seats out of 100 will be up for grabs.
In July, Republican lawmakers with the House Financial Services Committee passed two bills aimed at establishing regulatory clarity for crypto firms. The legislation has not been scheduled for a full House vote at the time of publication, but partisan delays could push the bills into the next session of Congress.