Four GOP Primary Candidates Set to Participate in Fourth Debate, Trump Opts for Fundraiser in Florida

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced on Monday that four candidates in the 2024 GOP primary will take part in the upcoming fourth debate on Wednesday. Notably absent will be former President Donald Trump, who will attend a fundraiser in Florida instead. The participating candidates meeting the RNC’s heightened debate criteria are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel expressed enthusiasm about the opportunity for Republican candidates to share their agenda with the American people during the fourth debate, which will be hosted by NewsNation, Megyn Kelly, The Washington Free Beacon, and Rumble. The event will take place in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

To qualify for the fourth stage, candidates had to surpass an 80,000 unique donor threshold, with at least 200 donors from 20 different states or territories. Additionally, GOP hopefuls needed to poll at or above 6% in two national surveys or in one national and two key early nominating state surveys—Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.

Candidates had to meet the RNC’s qualifications within 48 hours of the debate, with polls conducted on or after Sept. 15. The surveys had to adhere to the RNC’s standards, polling at least 800 likely GOP primary voters and avoiding affiliation with a presidential candidate’s campaign, among other requirements.

The RealClearPolitics average for the 2024 national primary, based on polls conducted between Nov. 9 and Dec. 2, indicates Trump leading the field by 48 points, followed by DeSantis with 13.3%, Haley with 10.2%, Ramaswamy with 5%, and Christie with 2.5%.

Trump, DeSantis, and Haley maintain support above 6% in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, according to the RCP. While Christie and Ramaswamy have surpassed 6% for the RCP average in New Hampshire, their support falls below this threshold in the other two early states.

The heightened criteria and withdrawals have gradually reduced the number of candidates on the debate stage, with eight participating in the first debate, followed by seven and five contenders in the second and third debates, respectively.

On Monday, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum joined the list of GOP hopefuls suspending their presidential campaigns, following several others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, conservative radio personality Larry Elder, Michigan businessman Perry Johnson, and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

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