The Republican primary’s third debate, set to take place in Miami on Wednesday, will feature a lineup of five candidates, but once again, former President Donald Trump will not be among them.
Securing their podiums for the evening are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Senator Tim Scott, ex-Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Despite remaining in the race, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson did not meet the qualifying criteria for this round.
The threshold for qualification included a minimum of 4% support in two national polls or one national and one early-voting state poll, with polling conducted post-September 1st. Additionally, candidates need to have garnered 70,000 unique donors, including at least 200 from 20 different states or territories.
Scheduled to be televised by NBC News, the debate will stream live from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT from Miami-Dade County’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.
Amid the backdrop of recent international tensions, notably the renewed conflict between Israel and Hamas which began on October 7, the candidates are anticipated to face rigorous questioning on Middle East policies, a step beyond the Ukrainian war discourse that marked the first two debates. The United Nations has reported substantial casualties in the conflict, with over 9,000 Palestinian and 1,400 Israeli deaths.
As the Republican field narrows, the stakes for participation in future debates are rising. For the fourth debate, slated for December 6 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, candidates will need to hit 6% in the polls and achieve 80,000 unique donors.
Trump, who has not joined the previous debates and has voiced his disdain for the RNC’s debate process, has opted out of the Miami event. Engaged in legal battles in New York and critical of the debate structure, he has called for the cancellation of this and all subsequent GOP debates. Instead, Trump plans an alternative event where he is expected to receive the endorsement of Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, his former press secretary.