Here Are The Moderators For The Third GOP Primary Debate

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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NBC News announced Wednesday evening that its own Lester Holt and Kristen Welker will moderate the Republican National Committee’s (RNC’s) third GOP primary debate on Nov. 8 alongside Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt.

Holt is the anchor of NBC Nightly News, Welker moderates Meet The Press and Hewitt hosts The Hugh Hewitt Show, where he has interviewed various Republican primary candidates. The RNC is requiring 2024 hopefuls to surpass a 70,000 unique donor threshold, with at least 200 per 20 different states or territories, and has also upped its polling criteria for the candidates to make the third debate stage.

Republican candidates need at least 4% support in two national surveys, or 4% in one national and in two key early nominating state polls — Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The surveys must also be recognized by the RNC by being conducted on or after Sept. 1, polling at least 800 likely GOP primary voters and not having an affiliation to any other presidential candidate.

The candidates must also have signed the loyalty pledge to support the eventual nominee, as well as other commitments, to participate in the third debate. (RELATED: After Conservative Backlash, RNC Gives Third Presidential Debate To NBC News)

Former President Donald Trump will be 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, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy have all met the RNC’s qualifications for the third debate, according to Politico’s analysis.

Along with DeSantis, Haley, Christie and Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum appeared on both debate stages. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson qualified for the first debate, but fell short of the second stage’s upped criteria.

The RealClearPolitics average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between Oct. 4 and Oct. 23, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by nearly 47 points, followed by DeSantis at 12.6%, Haley at 8.3%, Ramaswamy at 4.5%, Pence at 3.5% and Christie at 2.4%. All other GOP hopefuls garnered less than 2% support.

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