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GOP Presidential candidates roll into...

GOP Presidential candidates roll into Tuscaloosa for 4th Debate

By: Frank Corder - December 4, 2023

Republican presidential candidates former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy pose for a photo before the start of a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by NBC News, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Former President Trump will not be on stage Wednesday when Alabama hosts its first-ever presidential primary debate. Trump, the clear frontrunner, continues to refuse to participate in the GOP candidate debates.

The fourth Republican Presidential Debate of the 2024 election cycle will be held on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday. It will be the first time the state of Alabama has hosted a presidential primary debate.

As of Monday morning, only three GOP candidates have accepted an invitation to attend the debate, reaching the required threshold necessary to appear on the stage per Republican National Committee rules. Those candidates are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy.

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s campaign is working to secure his spot on the stage and has until Monday afternoon to make their case.

U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina dropped out of the GOP race soon after the third debate.

To be invited to the fourth debate, candidates had to have received campaign donations from 80,000 individuals, with at least 200 donors coming from at least 20 states. In addition, the candidates had to poll at 6 percent or better in two qualifying national polls or in one national poll and one poll from two early primary states.

According to reports, Christie had met the fundraising threshold, but his polling numbers were below the RNC’s qualification.

Former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner, did meet the requirements to appear at the fourth debate but has declined to participate just as he has done in the first three forums.

According to FiveThirtyEight‘s national polling aggregator, Trump continues to outpace the Republican field, now sitting at 60% as of November 30th. DeSantis is second with 12.6%, followed by Haley at 9.5% and Ramaswamy at 5.1%. The graph below from FiveThirtyEight shows how the candidates’ polling numbers are trending as of November 30th.

FiveThirtyEight’s national polling averages for the GOP presidential field as of November 30, 2023

Moderators for the fourth GOP debate will be Megyn Kelly from SiriusXM, Elizabeth Vargas with NewsNation, and Eliana Johnson from The Washington Free Beacon.


University of Alabama
Frank Moody Music Building


Wednesday, December 6, 2023
7 p.m. CT


NewsNation, The CW, or streamed on Rumble and SiriusXM

About the Author(s)
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Frank Corder

Frank Corder is a native of Pascagoula. For nearly two decades, he has reported and offered analysis on government, public policy, business and matters of faith. Frank’s interviews, articles, and columns have been shared throughout Mississippi as well as in national publications. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, providing insight and commentary on the inner workings of the Magnolia State. Frank has served his community in both elected and appointed public office, hosted his own local radio and television programs, and managed private businesses all while being an engaged husband and father. Email Frank: