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3rd GOP presidential debate: Who's in and who's out

Candidates will hit the debate stage for a third time Wednesday night, but not the Republican front-runner.
3rd GOP presidential debate: Who's in and who's out
Posted at 7:06 AM, Nov 08, 2023

The Republican National Committee has tightened the requirements to make Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate in Miami, and two fewer people will be on the stage compared to September's debate in California.

The candidates who made the cut are: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Gov. and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. 

That means North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who's polling under 1%, won't be on stage. Neither will former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who made the first debate but has not qualified since.

One other notable candidate who again won't be in attendance is former President Donald Trump, who's choosing to hold a nearby campaign rally instead.

SEE MORE: Poll: Trump leads Biden in 5 key battleground states

Even without Trump in the mix, the previous two debates have barely moved the needle in the polls. And despite all of his legal woes, Trump's strong grip on the Republican party has remained stable.  

Nonetheless, Wednesday's debate provides another chance for long-shot candidates to pitch themselves to a national audience and sets up the future of the Republican party — not just the presidency. Another function of these debates is to narrow the field and really hone in on the most popular candidates. 

SEE MORE: Viewer Spotlight: Why Scripps News hasn't aired the GOP debates

We've already seen people like Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and — more notably — former Vice President Mike Pence suspend their campaigns for the White House. And the remaining list of candidates is expected to continue to shrink in the coming months with the presidential election now less than one year away. 

Wednesday night's debate is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. It will be moderated by NBC's Lester Holt and Kristen Welker, and conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt. 

NBC says the event will air on its television, streaming and digital platforms.

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