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The GOP race for second place

Fox News Host and debate moderator Bret Baier outside the venue for the first GOP primary debate.

Fox News Host and debate moderator Bret Baier outside the venue for the first GOP primary debate.


And so it begins! Republican presidential hopefuls will take the stage on Wednesday night in Milwaukee, Wis., for the first GOP debate of the 2024 election season.

Who’s in? Eight candidates will participate after meeting the Republican National Committee’s qualification criteria: former VP Mike Pence, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Senator Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa. Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgam.

Who’s out? Donald Trump said he won’t attend the debate, highlighting his steady lead in the polls as proof that it’s not worth his time. Some observers say this is a good thing for the other candidates who will finally get a chance to actually debate the issues without the former president sucking up all the oxygen. Others maintain, however, that the frontrunner’s outright dismissal of the debate might give it a sense of child’s play.

Meanwhile, Eurasia Group’s chief US politics expert Jon Lieber says that even though Trump won’t be on the stage, the debate will still likely be all about him.

Still, many of the candidates with less name recognition have a lot riding on the debate because it’s their first real shot to pitch themselves to the American people in a political context where there’s not much room for second chances.

What’s on the agenda? No specific topics have been outlined, but Martha MacCallum, a FOX News anchor who is co-moderating the debate, said that candidates will be asked about a host of hot-button issues like abortion, Trump’s legal quandaries, and whether the US should keep arming Ukraine.

For analysis of the debate, be sure to check back in with GZERO Daily tomorrow!


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