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Republicans gear up for next presidential debate

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Casey Harper

(The Center Square) – Seven of the leading Republican contenders for the presidential nominee will meet in Simi Valley, California Wednesday night to battle it out for voters’ support.

Notably, former President Donald Trump is expected to skip the debate, as he did the first one.

The Republican National Committee announced the candidates who qualified for the California debate. Those candidates are:

  • Governor Doug Burgum
  • Governor Chris Christie
  • Governor Ron DeSantis
  • Former Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Former Vice President Mike Pence
  • Businessman and author Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C.

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who appeared in the first debate, did not qualify this time around.

“Wednesday’s debate is another opportunity for the RNC to share our diverse candidate field with the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “The Republican Party is united around one common goal – Beating Biden – and there is no better place to showcase our conservative vision for the future than the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.”

The debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

At the last debate, Ramaswamy took most of the spotlight as he fended of attacks from other candidates, helping bolster his national recognition. Haley also was considered to have a good night and has seen decent polling, though far behind some of her competitors.

DeSantis had an embarrassing viral moment where he seemed to look to his competitors for their answer before giving an answer of his own. All these moments, though, did little to erode Trump’s large lead.

Real Clear Politics polling average has Trump at 57.3 percent followed by DeSantis at 14.1 percent, Haley 5.4 percent and Ramaswamy at 5.3 percent.

Notably, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll released in conjunction with Langer Research Associates found that in a hypothetical 2024 matchup, President Joe Biden has 42 percent support compared to Trump’s 51 percent support.