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8 GOP candidates confirmed for first 2024 debate

Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images/TNS)
August 22, 2023

The first Republican primary debate in the 2024 presidential race will feature eight candidates Wednesday night looking to establish themselves as an alternative to former President Donald Trump, who will be notably absent from the debate stage.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Tuesday that the first debate, which will be hosted by Fox News at 9 p.m. on Wednesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will showcase Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

“The RNC is excited to showcase our diverse candidate field and the conservative vision to beat Joe Biden on the debate stage Wednesday night,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “I’d like to thank the RNC’s debate committee Chairman Dave Bossie and Co-Chair Anne Hathaway and our debate partners, Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble for their work to kick off the primary process that will put our Party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House next fall.”

In order to participate in Wednesday’s debate, Republican presidential candidates were required to meet the RNC’s guidelines. First, candidates were required to secure at least 1% in three national polls or 1% in two national and two state polls from Iowa, South Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada.

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Before the first debate, candidates were also required to receive campaign donations from 40,000 individual donors. The RNC guidelines required “at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20+ states and/or territories.”

Finally, Republican presidential candidates were required to sign the RNC’s pledge to support the Republican Party’s presidential nominee for 2024. The pledge also stipulates that candidates will not participate in any debates not sanctioned by the RNC during the 2024 presidential election and that candidates will share data with the RNC.

The Republican Party’s first presidential debate will be available Wednesday night on Fox News. The debate will also be streamed on Rumble, according to Fox News.

Despite holding a major lead in the Republican primary polls, former President Donald Trump has not agreed to sign the RNC’s pledge and has announced that he will not participate in Wednesday’s debate or the following Republican primary debates.

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more,” Trump stated on Truth Social. “I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!”

Instead of participating in Wednesday’s debate, the former president will be featured in an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, according to The Hill.