RNC Announces Fourth Primary Debate Participants

(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Monday evening that four 2024 GOP primary candidates will participate in the fourth debate on Wednesday.

Former President Donald Trump is skipping the fourth debate, as he did for the first three, and will instead attend a fundraiser in Florida. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all met the RNC’s upped debate criteria, and will take the stage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, according to the press release.

“The fourth debate is another fantastic opportunity for our Republican candidates to share our winning agenda with the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “President Reagan was the first sitting president to visit the University of Alabama nearly 40 years ago, just before cruising to a landslide victory in 1984, and I’m thrilled to return our conservative message to Tuscaloosa on Wednesday night.”

NewsNation, Megyn Kelly, The Washington Free Beacon and Rumble will host the fourth debate. (RELATED: Republicans Hope Fourth RNC Debate With Conservative Hosts, Moderators Will Deliver For Base Voters)

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 08: RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel delivers remarks before the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County on November 8, 2023 in Miami, Florida. Five presidential hopefuls including, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), squared off in the third Republican primary debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

MIAMI, FLORIDA – NOVEMBER 08: RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel delivers remarks before the NBC News Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

To make the fourth stage, candidates must have surpassed an 80,000 unique donor threshold, with at least 200 coming from 20 different states or territories. The GOP hopefuls must also have polled 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 fourth debate, and polls had to have been conducted on or after Sept. 15. The surveys also had to meet the RNC’s standards in that they had to poll at least 800 likely GOP primary voters and couldn’t have been affiliated with a presidential candidate’s campaign, among other requirements.

The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national primary, based on polls conducted between Nov. 9 and Dec. 2, indicates Trump is 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 are averaging above 6% support in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, according to the RCP. Christie and Ramaswamy have topped 6% for the RCP average in New Hampshire, but not in either of the other two early states.

The RNC’s upped criteria, paired with several contenders withdrawing their candidacies, has narrowed the field of candidates on stage with each debate. Eight candidates participated in the first debate, while the second and third narrowed to seven and five contenders, respectively.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum became the latest GOP hopeful to suspend his presidential campaign on Monday, following 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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