The Republican National Committee announced Monday that five presidential candidates met the criteria to participate in Third primary debate Wednesday in Miami.
They are former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who qualified for the previous two debates, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who participated in the first debate but did not speak for the second, will be absent from the debate stage.
Former Vice President Mike Pence, who qualified for the first two debates, dropped out of the Republican primary last month.
“We look forward to our third debate in Miami, a welcome opportunity for our candidates to present our winning conservative agenda to the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a press release.
To qualify for the third debate, candidates had to register 4% in two national polls or in one national poll and in two separate early-voting state polls (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina). Applicants also had to have reached at least 70,000 unique donors, including at least 200 in 20 states or territories.
Of the five candidates who took the stage in Miami, the stakes are particularly high for Haley and DeSantis. Haley has enjoyed a significant, but not disproportionate, surge in support in recent polls, thanks in part to her performance in previous debates. In a memo from campaign manager Betsy Ankney, the Haley campaign says the former governor is increasingly the “best alternative to Trump” in three of the first four primary states.
For DeSantis, the situation is different but no less important. The Florida governor, who entered the race presenting himself as someone who could appeal to both Trump supporters and anti-Trump Republican primary voters, has struggled to maintain his initial positioning as an alternative major Republican attack on the former president. His performance in the first two debates was subdued. And as his position in the primary remained largely static, his campaign shifted more resources to Iowa in hopes that a stellar performance in the upcoming debates and then a strong performance in the January caucuses would revive a party of the initial enthusiasm for the Florida governor. as the launch of its campaign approaches.
Trump, the favorite of this Republican primary, skips the debate – as he did in the previous two in Milwaukee and Simi Valley, California. He will instead lead a rally in South Florida as counterprogramming to the debate. Trump’s team argued there should be fewer debates.
Just days before the debate, it looked like Scott was going to barely pass the threshold required to take the stage. In a memo to the RNC confirming the lineup, Scott campaign manager Jennifer DeCasper predicted the debate would turn into a “fight” between Haley and DeSantis.
“She will attack him for the failed candidate that he is. He will attack her for being a moderate,” DeCasper wrote, saying Scott was the candidate. It’s Democrats who fear the most because “the left knows that a Tim Scott-led ticket would usher in a red wave that would not only topple the White House but also take away the House and Senate.”
The Miami debate will air at 8 p.m. ET on NBC News and will be streamed live on Rumble. Other debate partners include Salem Radio Network and the Republican Jewish Coalition.
“We are particularly honored to be the first political party to partner with a Jewish organization for a debate as part of our partnership with the Republican Jewish Coalition, and our candidates will reaffirm the Republican Party’s unwavering support for Israel and Jewish community on stage Wednesday evening. ” McDaniel said in the press release.
The fourth Republican debate is already scheduled and will take place on December 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with higher polling and donor thresholds for candidates to take the stage.
This story has been updated with additional information.