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Republican debate features a Haley vs DeSantis showdown in Iowa

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie failed to meet the threshold to take part in the debate days before the Iowa caucuses

Rachel Sharp
Wednesday 10 January 2024 19:22 GMT
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Debate crowd boos as Vivek Ramaswamy accuses Nikki Haley of 'fascism'

CNN has announced which Republican 2024 candidates have qualified for the next GOP primary debate – and it’s bad news for some of the presidential hopefuls.

Former president Donald Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN ambassador and South Carolina governor Nikki Haley were the only three candidates to make the cut.

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie failed to pass the threshold to appear on the debate stage this time round, marking the first time they won’t be taking part.

Asa Hutchinson – who didn’t meet the requirements for the last debate, yet has so far declined to bow out of the race – also failed to qualify.

Both Mr DeSantis and Ms Haley have already confirmed plans to participate in the 10 January Iowa debate, paving the way for the two candidates to go head-to-head as they vy to take on the clear GOP frontrunner Mr Trump.

The former president meanwhile has refused to take part in any of the primary debates so far, hosting rival rallies and interviews instead.

And this time will be no different.

Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis face off at the last GOP debate (REUTERS)

On the night of 10 January, Mr Trump will take part in a town hall on Fox News – also in the Hawkeye state.

To qualify for the 10 January debate in Iowa, hosted by CNN, the candidates were required to receive at least 10 per cent of votes in three separate national polls and/or Iowa polls of Republican primary voters or caucusgoers.

At least one of the three polls must be a poll of likely Iowa Republican caucusgoers approved by the network.

The candidates had until midday on Tuesday to qualify.

As the window of time closed in – and his hopes of meeting the threshold dwindled – Mr Ramaswamy quickly announced that he was dropping out of the debate.

“Forget @CNN’s fake Iowa “debate” on Jan 10 which will be the most boring in modern history,” he posted on X.

Instead, he said he will be doing a “live-audience show that night in Des Moines with @Timcast instead”.

While pitching it as his own choice, a mere few hours later it was announced he had not reached the threshold anyway.

The debate comes just five days before the Iowa caucuses, offering a final opportunity for the candidates to impress voters before the GOP primary race really kick off.

The debate will take place at 9pm ET on 10 January at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will act as moderators.

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