RNC Announces Third GOP Debate Participants

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Monday evening that five 2024 GOP primary candidates will participate in Wednesday’s third debate in Miami, Florida, according to a press release.

Former President Donald Trump is skipping the third debate, as he did the first two, and is instead holding a rally in Florida during the same time frame. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott all met the RNC’s upped debate requirements and will take the stage, according to the press release.

“We are looking forward to our third debate in Miami, a welcome opportunity for our candidates to showcase our winning conservative agenda to the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “We are especially honored to be the first political party to partner with a Jewish organization for a debate in our partnership with the Republican Jewish Coalition, and our candidates will reaffirm the Republican Party’s unwavering support of Israel and the Jewish community on the stage Wednesday night.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson took the first debate stage, but failed to meet the RNC’s increased thresholds for the second and third. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Vice President Mike Pence participated in the first two debates, but the former didn’t qualify for the third, and the latter has since dropped out of the race, joining conservative radio personality Larry Elder, Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.


To make the third debate stage, candidates had to have exceeded 70,000 unique donors, with at least 200 coming from 20 different states or territories. The hopefuls also had to receive a minimum of 4% support in two national polls or in one national and in two key early nominating state surveys — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

The surveys had to have been recognized by the RNC by polling at least 800 likely GOP voters, conducted on or after Sept. 1, not being affiliated with any other presidential candidate and other criteria. Candidates must also have signed the loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee and other commitments to participate.

The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Oct. 4 and Nov. 2, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by over 45 points, followed by DeSantis with 13.3%, Haley with 8.4%, Ramaswamy with 4.5%, Pence with 3.4% and Christie with 2.5%. Scott received 1.7% and all other GOP hopefuls garnered less than 1%.

NBC News will host the third debate, with its own Lester Holt and Kristen Welker moderating alongside Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt.

Mary Lou Masters on November 6, 2023

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