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Four Republicans will be on stage for the fourth presidential debate. Here’s who’s in and who’s out

by Chloe Baker
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Republican presidential debate

The upcoming fourth Republican presidential debate will feature a more condensed group of candidates, with only four individuals qualifying to take the stage. This event is scheduled to occur at the University of Alabama’s Moody Music Hall in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday night, as confirmed by the Republican National Committee.

Candidates were required to achieve a minimum of 6% support in either two national polls or one national poll and two polls from key early-voting states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina) to qualify for this debate. Additionally, these polls must be recognized by the RNC.

Further criteria included securing at least 80,000 unique donors, with a minimum of 200 donors from 20 different states or territories, and signing an RNC pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee.

The candidates who have qualified and will be participating are:

  1. Ron DeSantis: Previously perceived as a strong contender against Donald Trump, DeSantis now finds himself struggling for a distant second place. His campaign, particularly in Iowa, has faced challenges, including recent staff departures from his supporting super PAC.

  2. Nikki Haley: Gaining momentum from a focus shift towards foreign policy, Haley aims to maintain her upward trajectory in the fourth debate. She has been involved in heated exchanges with DeSantis, criticizing his campaign strategy.

  3. Vivek Ramaswamy: As the youngest candidate and a newcomer to politics, Ramaswamy has faced criticism for his inexperience. Despite this, he has been actively campaigning, especially in Iowa, and has engaged in fiery debates, notably with Haley.

  4. Chris Christie: Known for his direct criticism of Trump, Christie has positioned himself as a bold challenger within the party. He has continued to mention Trump in debates, despite Trump’s absence from these events.

Donald Trump, the current GOP front-runner, has chosen to skip this debate as well, marking his fourth consecutive absence. Instead, he is hosting a private campaign fundraiser in Florida. Trump has expressed his preference to avoid giving visibility to his lower-polling rivals by sharing the debate stage with them. His campaign has also suggested that the RNC should cancel the remaining debates and focus on supporting his candidacy against President Joe Biden.

Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, participated in the first debate but has not qualified for the subsequent ones. He remains committed to his campaign despite not meeting the polling criteria for recent debates.

Since the last debate, there have been notable campaign withdrawals. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina ended his campaign shortly after qualifying for the third debate. North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum also suspended his campaign, expressing dissatisfaction with the RNC’s debate requirements, which he believes overly nationalize the primary process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Republican presidential debate

Who are the candidates participating in the fourth Republican presidential debate?

Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Chris Christie have qualified and will be participating in the fourth Republican presidential debate.

What criteria were required for candidates to qualify for the fourth Republican presidential debate?

Candidates needed at least 6% support in two national polls or 6% in one national poll and two polls from early-voting states, 80,000 unique donors with a minimum from 20 states or territories, and to sign an RNC pledge supporting the eventual nominee.

Why is Donald Trump not participating in the fourth Republican presidential debate?

Donald Trump, the current GOP front-runner, is skipping the debate to avoid giving visibility to his lower-polling rivals and has suggested the RNC focus on supporting his candidacy against President Joe Biden.

What challenges has Ron DeSantis faced in his campaign?

Ron DeSantis has struggled for a distant second place to Donald Trump and faced operational challenges, including staff departures from his supporting super PAC, particularly in Iowa.

How has Nikki Haley gained momentum in her campaign?

Nikki Haley has benefited from increased attention and a campaign shift towards foreign policy, particularly after the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas, and is looking to continue this trend in the debate.

What distinguishes Vivek Ramaswamy in the Republican presidential race?

Vivek Ramaswamy is the youngest GOP hopeful and a political newcomer, facing criticism for his lack of experience but gaining attention through active campaigning and debate performances.

What stance has Chris Christie taken in the 2024 race?

Chris Christie has positioned himself as a vocal critic of Donald Trump and the only Republican willing to confront him directly, continuing to mention Trump in debates despite his absence.

More about Republican presidential debate

  • Moody Music Hall at the University of Alabama
  • Republican National Committee
  • Early-voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina
  • Ron DeSantis’ campaign
  • Nikki Haley’s foreign policy focus
  • Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign
  • Chris Christie’s stance against Trump
  • Donald Trump’s campaign strategy
  • Asa Hutchinson’s polling efforts
  • Senator Tim Scott’s campaign withdrawal
  • North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum’s campaign suspension

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