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Just 3 presidential candidates qualify for next GOP primary debate

While three Republican candidates did meet the polling requirements to qualify for the event, just two will be onstage.
Just 3 presidential candidates qualify for next GOP primary debate
Posted at 3:02 PM, Jan 02, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-02 15:02:52-05

Just three candidates have qualified for the next GOP debate, but as we've seen in the past four events, the Republican front-runner is not expected to be in attendance.

CNN announced Tuesday that former President Donald Trump, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are the only three Republican candidates who qualified for the next debate, which will be held Jan. 10 at 9 p.m. ET in Des Moines, Iowa. The event will be moderated by CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

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Candidates who appeared in previous debates — entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson — did not meet CNN's 10% polling requirement and won't be in attendance. Ramaswamy issued a statement Tuesday, slamming the network for hosting a "fake" debate and saying he will instead hold a town hall that night with conservative media personality Tim Pool.

Meanwhile, while three candidates did meet CNN's polling requirement, just two will be on the stage: Haley and DeSantis. Trump is again choosing not to participate, instead opting for a town hall that will air on Fox News at the same time. 

The former president has snubbed all of the previous four Republican primary debates. But as other candidates use the time to take jabs at each other and voice their stances on a host of topics, Trump's sizable lead ahead of the field has remained steady. 

SEE MORE: As Iowa caucuses near, can anything stop Trump?

Next Wednesday's debate will mark the final chance candidates have to appeal to a national audience before the Iowa caucuses kick off election season just five days later. CNN said it will hold a second debate on Jan. 21 in New Hampshire, two days before voting begins in that state's primary. 


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