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Factbox-Where is the fourth Republican debate and who will be there?

Published Nov 30, 2023 12:43PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speak simultaneously at the third Republican candidates' U.S. presidential debate of the 2024 U.S. presidential campaign hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Cent
 
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By Gram Slattery

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to face off in the fourth debate of their party's 2024 nominating contest next Wednesday.

Here are some facts about the debate:

WHERE IS IT?

It will take place at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa at 7 p.m. local time (0100 GMT). It will be hosted by subscription-based television network NewsNation, conservative political journal the Washington Free Beacon, The Megyn Kelly Show on Sirius XM (NASDAQ:SIRI) and Rumble, a video hosting service popular with conservatives.

The forum, which will be broadcast on television news channel NewsNation and streamed on Rumble, represents something of an experiment by the Republican National Committee after the first three debates were hosted by major news networks, namely Fox and NBC.

Alabama is a deeply Republican state, which will not be competitive in the 2024 general election. It does, however, host a relatively early primary contest, set for March 5.

WHO WILL BE THERE?

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, who are battling for second place in the primary race, will be on stage, while tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is on the verge of making the cut.

Former President Donald Trump will notably not be there, which limits the debate's significance given that he leads the field by more than 40 percentage points, according to most national opinion polls.

Trump, who has skipped the previous debates and urged the party to focus on the general election, will instead attend a fundraiser for the Make America Great Again (MAGA) super PAC in Florida, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

 No other candidates appear likely to make the stage.

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who qualified for the third debate, has dropped out. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who also made the third debate, is struggling to meet the polling threshold.

Unlike the previous debates, Trump has no plans to counter-program by holding his own event, Trump's co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita said.

WILL THE DEBATE MATTER?

Ultimately, any candidate will need to chip away at Trump's massive lead if they want a shot at the nomination, and he will not be present. The Iowa caucuses, the first contest of the primary campaign, are set for Jan. 15.

DeSantis leads Haley in most national surveys, but Haley is well ahead of DeSantis in the early nominating states of New Hampshire and South Carolina. She has been rising in opinion polls for months, while DeSantis has stalled out.

If either candidate has a particularly strong performance, that could help him or her break that stalemate and begin to consolidate the support of Republicans looking to move beyond Trump. Still, the importance of debates has historically varied, and even a standout showing is not guaranteed to reshape the race for runner-up.

Factbox-Where is the fourth Republican debate and who will be there?
 

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