The upcoming GOP presidential primary debate in Alabama will feature four candidates, with the unexpected addition of former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The Republican National Committee made a late-night announcement on Monday, revealing the lineup of speakers for an event at the University of Alabama. Among the notable figures expected to appear are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, prominent businessperson Vivek Ramaswamy, and Christie.
DeSantis, Haley, and Ramaswamy effortlessly met the criteria established by the national party committee to secure a spot on stage. However, Christie’s inclusion occurred at the eleventh hour, as he seemingly surpassed the polling threshold just days before the Monday deadline.
The debate, co-hosted by NewsNation, The Megyn Kelly Show on SiriusXM, The Washington Free Beacon, and Rumble, is set to commence at 8 p.m. EST.
Former President Donald Trump has once again chosen not to participate in the upcoming RNC-sanctioned debates. Despite being the frontrunner in the field, he has made the decision to abstain from these debates and has even called for their cancellation.
Instead of opting for public counterprogramming, a strategy he has employed in previous debates, Trump has chosen to attend a fundraiser in Florida.
Wednesday’s debate is set to be the most compact primary debate thus far in the cycle. Last month’s showdown saw the participation of five candidates, but with the recent departure of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), the number of contenders has decreased.
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum decided to withdraw from the race on Monday. In a statement, he cited his exclusion from the debate stage as one of the reasons for his departure.
“The primary goal of the RNC is to secure victories in elections,” stated Burgum. “Their objective should not be to limit competition or stifle innovative ideas by prematurely ‘narrowing the field’ before the Iowa caucuses or the first in the nation New Hampshire primary.”
Doug Burgum took part in both the first and second debates, but unfortunately, he did not meet the criteria to qualify for the third debate last month. Similarly, he would not have been able to meet the requirements to participate in this week’s debate.
According to a report by POLITICO, ABC News and CNN are currently considering the idea of sponsoring future debates, although the RNC has not yet made any public announcements regarding this matter.