Seven Republican White House hopefuls will face off Wednesday night in Simi Valley, California, ready to duke it out at their second primary debate over a slew of issues most important to everyday Americans.
Last month, eight candidates went head-to-head in the first Republican debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The second debate, hosted by Fox News’ sister network, Fox Business will show a smaller cast sharing the stage, with the stage shrinking by one candidate seven of the eight hopefuls making the RNC’s cut to participate.
To qualify for entry into the prime-time debate stage, the RNC upped the ante threshold by making the criteria more challenging compared to the first debate. In order to participate in the second debate, candidates needed a minimum of 50,000 unique donors — a 10,000 increase from the 40,000 required to make it onstage for last month showdown — with 200 of those unique donors coming from at least 20 states. Polling requirements saw a 1% jump from the first debate requirements, with candidates this time around had to poll at least 3% in two national polls or reach 3% in one national poll and 3% in two early state polls conducted from the first four early primary states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. All the polling and donor criteria had to be met 48 hours prior to the second debate showdown. Additionally, the RNC stipulates that hopefuls must pledge to support the eventual party nominee.
The lucky seven Republicans who qualified for the second showdown taking place at an iconic venue —the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library will include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson failed to qualify for the televised second matchups. Hutchinson failed to reach the 3% polling threshold with numerous polls since the first debate showing the former Arkansas governor barely reaching at least 1% in either national or the first four early primary state polls. Only one South Carolina poll conducted by Washington Post/Monmouth earlier this month had Hutchinson at 2% while the rest of the polls have him barely registering. Burgum was the last candidate to make the cut just before the 48-hour deadline, meeting the polling requirement with the help of a Trafalgar poll released Saturday that had the North Dakota governor polling nationally at 3.2%.
Once again, former President Trump, who remains the Republican frontrunner will skip the debate. This time, Trump will be 2,000 miles away at Clinton Township, Michigan where his campaign arranged for the former president to meet with United Auto Workers union members who are currently on strike against the Big Three automakers (General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis). The counterprogram is scheduled to take place one hour before the debate begins, but the former president is well-known for kicking off his rallies at a much later time than slated and talking for over an hour at his rallies. It remains to be seen if Trump’s counterprogramming speech aimed at winning over the striking UAW workers will take away the attention or overshadow the debate during its first hour.
Without Trump on the debate stage, the seven candidates will get another rare opportunity to step into the spotlight to attack each other, make their pitches to voters, and come out of the two-hour event either shining or self-destructing from their performance.Donald TrumpRepublican DebateRepublican Primary Debate