The Republican National Committee confirmed on Monday that there will be just four candidates competing on Wednesday night in this week’s GOP presidential primary debate, making it the smallest stage yet.
The following individuals have qualified for Wednesday’s discussion in Alabama: former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former United States ambassador Nikki Haley, and Florida governor Ron DeSantis. NewsNation, SiriusXM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show,” and The Washington Free Beacon will present the debate.
With a minimum of 6% in the required national and early-state surveys, Christie seemed to qualify just moments before Monday night’s deadline, meeting the conditions set by the RNC. Last month, Christie’s team made an announcement about reaching the 80,000 unique donations needed to qualify.
Instead of participating in the debate, former President Trump will be attending a town hall on Fox News on Tuesday and a private fundraiser on Wednesday.
42% of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers think Trump should participate in at least one debate before the caucuses, while the majority of likely caucusgoers say it doesn’t matter to them.
Despite avoiding direct confrontation with his opponents, Trump has maintained his dominance in the GOP primary race. Instead of focusing on Trump, who is now leading the polls, the contenders may choose to engage in a back-and-forth at Wednesday’s discussion if previous events are any indication.
Haley may have another opportunity to enhance her reputation during the discussion, scheduled to air at 8 p.m. ET. After her outstanding performances in the debates, she saw an uptick in her public poll numbers and an increase in her support from prominent GOP contributors, including the well-funded Americans for Prosperity, which is part of the Koch network.
Announcing the participants on Wednesday, Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, stated, “The fourth debate is another fantastic opportunity for our Republican candidates to share our winning agenda with the American people.”
“President Reagan was the first sitting president to visit the University of Alabama nearly 40 years ago, just before cruising to a landslide victory in 1984, and I’m thrilled to return our conservative message to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday night,” said Reagan.
Whether or not there will be another Republican debate before the Iowa caucuses on January 15 is still up in the air, but with just over a month to go, Haley and Trump’s other opponents are focusing on Iowa.
DeSantis called the idea that he would withdraw from the campaign prior to the Iowa caucuses “absurd” and stated in an interview that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press” that he anticipates winning those elections.
Speaking to reporters in Iowa on Saturday, Ramaswamy stated his intention to bring the same level of enthusiasm to the fourth debate as he did to previous ones.
He claimed to have been “brutally honest” at the last discussion. “I believe that what our nation requires is an increase, not a decrease.”
Staying in the race is Christie’s first priority, and he has maintained his emphasis on New Hampshire.
During a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week, he stated, “I’m not considering dropping out.”
Not only is this the most recent debate in which more Republican contenders did not qualify, but it is also the fourth time that these same candidates have appeared together. Among them is Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, who has been absent from all debates since August’s inaugural event. Last month, during the third debate, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott formally stopped his campaign.
Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota abruptly abandoned his presidential campaign only hours before Monday’s announcement by the Republican National Committee, perhaps preparing to skip yet another debate. As he was leaving, he criticized the RNC’s debate rules.
The credentials associated with actually fulfilling the job of president are not addressed in any of their debating criteria, according to Burgum’s remark. “For a party that claims to appreciate leadership from outside of Washington, this effort to nationalize the primary system is detrimental to the party’s future.”