Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks as former Vice President Mike Pence and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy listen during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News Channel Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Seven GOP candidates look to break through in the second presidential forum as frontrunner former President Trump plans to skip the debate, calling it “stupid.”
Seven Republicans vying to be the party’s presidential nominee in 2024 will take the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday for the second GOP debate.
The candidates met in late August for the first in the debate series with eight candidates on the stage.
On the debate stage this go around will be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, South Carolina U.S. Senator Tim Scott, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.
Each of the seven candidates met the Republican National Committee’s polling and fundraising requirements to appear on the debate stage. To qualify, a candidate had to be at least at 3% in two national polls or one national poll and two polls from the separate early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada. A minimum of 50,000 unique donors, with at least 200 donors in 20 states or territories, was also required.
All candidates on the stage must also sign a pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee.
Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who appeared in the first Republican debate, did not meet the RNC’s requirements and will not be at Wednesday’s debate.
Also absent from the debate will be the party’s frontrunner former President Donald Trump. Trump, as he did for the first debate, is skipping the forum, calling the event “stupid” on Monday.
With Trump not in the mix, Governor DeSantis will be positioned at the center podium with Ramaswamy and Haley to his left and right, respectively. The Florida Governor is currently running second in the polls to Trump who holds a commanding lead over the field.
RealClearPolitics polling which averages all major available nationwide polling data shows Trump at 57%. DeSantis comes in at 14.5% followed by Haley at 5.6% and Ramaswamy at 5.1%. Pence is polling at 4.3% while Scott and Christie are tied at 2.8%. Burgum is pulling 1%.
The primetime debate will air on Fox Business Network and Univision. It is set to get underway at 8:00pm CT.
FoxNews hosts Stuart Varney and Dana Perino as well as Univision’s Ilia Calderón will serve as moderators.