While the field of candidates is shrinking, Wednesday's fourth Republican presidential debate will have a similar format to the previous three.
The two-hour debate is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET from the home of the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and will be streamed live on all NewsNation platforms. It will be moderated by an all-female team including NewsNation's Elizabeth Vargas, journalist and media personality Megyn Kelly, and The Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Eliana Johnson.
With just six weeks until the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses, the Republican National Committee has tightened the requirements to qualify for the debate. 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, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Candidates who won't be in attendance after appearing in past debates include: U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson — the latter of whom is the only one in the group who hasn't suspended his candidacy. But perhaps the biggest name who is sitting out yet again is GOP front-runner and former President Donald Trump.
Despite all of his legal woes, Trump's strong grip on the Republican party has remained stable and the previous three debates have failed to move the needle in the polls. A NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ survey found 60% of Republican voters picked Trump as their first choice, followed by 11% for DeSantis and 10% for Haley. All other candidates were polling in the single digits.
Nonetheless, Wednesday's debate provides another chance for these long-shot candidates to pitch themselves to a national audience and sets up the future of the Republican party — not just the presidency.
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