Republicans to square off in 1st debate, but Trump will not be there
At least 7 candidates to take part in showdown that will inaugurate new, more heated phase in 2024 White House race
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - Republican presidential hopefuls are slated to take to the debate stage for the first time Wednesday evening as they seek to prove their conservative bona fides in front of a national audience.
The showdown will inaugurate a new, more heated phase, in the 2024 White House race.
At least seven candidates will take part in the showdown hosted by Fox News in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but ex-US President Donald Trump will not be among the crowded field. He is expected to instead take part in an interview with ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson that will be released during or around the time of the debate.
Trump has said he does not see a need to attend the debate due to his large lead in early polling and has refused to sign a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee regardless of who it ultimately is, a requirement imposed by the Republican National Committee (RNC) for all participants.
A compilation of national polls put together by the RealClearPolitics website shows Trump holding a commanding lead against all of his Republican challengers, holding over 55% of support among all candidates. His closest challenger remains Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis followed by former pharmaceutical executive Vivek Ramaswamy.
But neither candidate has anywhere near as large a base of support as Trump.
DeSantis and Ramaswamy will be joined at Wednesday's debate by former Vice President Mike Pence, ex-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Tim Scott, and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Candidates had to meet a series of criteria established by the RNC to participate in the debate, including signing the loyalty pledge, having at least 40,000 individual campaign donors, and receiving at least 1% support in national polling, or polling in early voting states.
It is unclear if Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, businessman Perry Johnson and ex-Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson have met the criteria and will be allowed to join their fellow Republicans on the debate stage Wednesday.
This news has been read 40 times in total