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RNC announces participants for 3rd debate in Miami

RNC announces participants for 3rd debate in Miami
RNC announces participants for 3rd debate in Miami 01:00

MIAMI -  Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the primary candidates that will be participating in Wednesday's Republican primary debate.

They will be: 

•    Governor Chris Christie
•    Governor Ron DeSantis
•    Ambassador Nikki Haley
•    Vivek Ramaswamy
•    Senator Tim Scott

The debate is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CBS News Miami will stream a pre and post-debate show with a wrap at 11 p.m. 


Early on, the Florida governor was seen as the top rival for Donald Trump, finishing a distant second to the current GOP front-runner in both early-voting state and national polls but raising an impressive amount of money.

DeSantis has recently shifted some of his Florida-based staff to Iowa, pinning his chances of emerging as an alternative to Trump alternative squarely on the leadoff state. This week he picked up the sought-after endorsement of Gov. Kim Reynolds.


The senator from South Carolina has been hoping that the debates could give his campaign a needed boost after his struggles to catch fire compared to his rivals. But there had even been some question of whether he would make the Miami stage, given its elevated polling requirements.

In a pre-debate memo shared with The Associated Press on Monday, Scott's campaign manager sought to contrast his candidate with DeSantis and Haley, saying Scott planned to ask how either could "present a contrast with Donald Trump when he made each of their political careers."


The only Republican woman onstage - and in the field - Haley has benefited from a bounce in attention following each of the previous debates, as well as the campaign's shift toward foreign policy after Hamas' surprise Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

As she and DeSantis have escalated their barbs over issues including the Israel-Hamas war and China's influence, Wednesday night's debate offers a chance for them to duke it out in person.


The political newcomer and youngest GOP hopeful has been a debate-stage target of attacks on his lack of experience - jabs that have previously helped boost both Ramaswamy's campaign coffers and his name ID in the broad Republican field.

After the second debate in September, Ramaswamy asked the RNC to change its rules for the third, requesting that participation be limited to four candidates, with a unique donor requirement of 100,000. The party kept its rules as is.


As many of his GOP rivals have gone all in on Iowa ahead of the state's leadoff caucuses, the former New Jersey governor often has New Hampshire all to himself.

Christie has charted a path there as the race's most vocal critic of Trump, casting himself as the only Republican willing to directly take him on, and arguing that Trump will lose to President Joe Biden next November if he's the party's nominee.

Without Trump at the debates, Christie has been left without his intended target but has brought him up nonetheless. In September, Christie looked directly into the camera and declared that if Trump keeps skipping debates, he would deserve a new nickname: "Donald Duck."

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