Wednesday’s GOP presidential debate in Miami will showcase a dwindling group of contenders

By: - November 8, 2023 11:00 am

Republican presidential candidates (L-R), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina participate in the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 27, 2023 in Simi Valley, California. Seven presidential hopefuls squared off in the second Republican primary debate as former President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined again to participate. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (This image cannot be republished unless you have a Getty subscription.)

Just five presidential candidates will take the stage Wednesday night in Miami for the third Republican presidential debate, and once again, front-runner Donald Trump will not be among them.

The Republican National Committee announced Monday night that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Tim Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be the participants.

On the outside looking in is South Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who failed to make the cut.

“Skipping the next debate isn’t going to stop us, Burgum responded on X. “I’ve been told ‘it’s impossible’ my entire life and always beat the odds.”

To have been eligible for the Miami debate, the candidates had to have polled at least at 4% in two national polls or 4% in one national poll and one early state poll (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada), as per the criteria listed by the Republican National Committee (RNC). They also had to have had a minimum of 70,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in at least 20 states or territories.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who like Burgum appeared at the Republican Party’s Florida Freedom Summit over the weekend in Kissimmee, also failed to make the cut.

While the five candidates will be on stage Wednesday, former president Donald Trump plans to hold his own rally in nearby Hialeah.

And Fox News reported this week that Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to endorse Trump at the Florida rally.

Meanwhile, Governor DeSantis is touting the endorsement he received Monday night from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

“As a mother, grandmother, and American, I can’t sit on the sidelines,” Reynolds said on X. “@RonDeSantis is the person who will fight for you. Who will have the moral conviction to do what’s right & the ability to actually do what he promises. His record proves that. He has my full endorsement!”

The debate will air between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on NBC News and livestreamed on Rumble. The venue is the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on Nov. 8.

Meanwhile, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel announced late last week there will be a fourth scheduled debate to take place on Dec. 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Associated Press reported.

The criteria will be even more stringent for those candidates. They must get at least 6% in two approved national polls, or 6% in one poll from two separate early-voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Candidates must also have at least 80,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in 20 or more states.

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Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.