(NewsNation) — Businessman and Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy has had one of the most surprising campaigns in the 2024 election with soaring poll numbers after initially registering at around 0%.
Some polls now show Ramaswamy in third place behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, with the Real Clear Politics average of polls showing him with 5.5% of the vote.
Here are some things to know about the budding Republican candidate:
Ramaswamy is a former pharmaceutical executive with no political background, who launched his campaign with $10 million of his own cash.
He says his chief goal is reviving national pride, proposing unusual changes to U.S. citizenship.
“Young people don’t value a country that they just inherit,” Ramaswamy said. “That’s why I’ve said every high school senior, I believe, should have to pass the same civics test that an immigrant in this country has to pass in order to become a voting citizen of the country if that 18-year-old wants all the privileges of citizenship as well,”
He also drew some attention after launching the “Vivek Kitchen Cabinet,” which offers 10% commission to supporters who fundraise for his 2024 campaign.
“A small oligopoly of political fundraisers is already making an ungodly amount of $$ on this election. It’s disgusting. I’m breaking up that cartel,” Ramaswamy said on X, formally known as Twitter, adding, “If someone else is getting rich on this, it might as well be you.”
This weekend, Ramaswamy’s team hit an important milestone in the election by qualifying for the RNC debates.
The campaign announced he reached the minimum number of unique donors required and is meeting the other criteria needed to qualify. Other big names like former Vice President Mike Pence have not yet qualified.
Ramaswamy told NewsNation the debates will be “crucial” in showing voters who he is and increasing name recognition.
In the effort of spreading his message and reaching voters at a grassroots level, Ramaswamy has spent more time on the campaign trail in New Hampshire and Iowa than any other candidate.