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Tags: iowa | debate | haley | desantis | election

DeSantis Lone Candidate Committing to Iowa Debate

By    |   Tuesday, 12 December 2023 08:42 AM EST

The last GOP presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses, moderated by CNN, may be in peril, as only Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to participate.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has not committed to attend the event and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are not expected to qualify. 

The debate is scheduled for Jan. 10, five days before the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 15, and with former President Donald Trump holding a clear lead in polls over the rest of the field, the debate would be the last opportunity for the remainder of the field to make an impression before the caucuses open, reported Axios

DeSantis is predicting he will win the Iowa caucuses, but Haley has not committed to facing him in a one-on-one debate in Iowa. However, she's calling on Trump to break his debate boycott, which will not likely happen in Iowa, particularly with CNN moderating the event. 

"There's a CNN debate? Had no idea," Trump spokesperson Steven Cheung told Axios. 

Haley, who was interviewed on Sioux City, Iowa NBC affiliate KTIV last Friday, commented that Trump is "going to have to get on a debate stage here in Iowa because you're fighting for Iowans' votes. I think he's got to sit there and do the groundwork."

She also argued that a candidate "can't have an election and not appear on a debate stage in front of the people who are going to be voting for you."

DeSantis spokesperson Bryan Griffin told Axios that after Haley's performance in the last debate, "it is no wonder why Haley has failed to confirm she will join Ron DeSantis on the debate stage in Iowa and New Hampshire next month."

Meanwhile, Haley spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said the former ambassador would be "debating in Iowa," but made no specific commitments to the CNN event.

"Since the RNC pulled out of the debates, many new offers have come in," she said. "We look forward to debating in Iowa and continuing to show voters why Nikki is the best candidate to retire Joe Biden and save our country. That debate should include Donald Trump."

The planned Jan. 10 debate will be the first one not being sponsored by the Republican National Committee, which last week said it would not be sponsoring more presidential debates in the 2024 election cycle and that it would allow GOP candidates to appear in other forums. 

But like the RNC, CNN has set qualification standards, including that a candidate must poll with at least 10% or higher in three national or Iowa polls, and that one of those polls must be from Iowa.

Christie has been focusing more on New Hampshire, where he is campaigning as an anti-Trump candidate and will likely qualify for CNN's planned debate there. 

Ramaswamy says he wants to participate in the Iowa debate. However, he has yet to hit 10% in a major public Iowa poll. Monday, he hit 5% in an NBC News/Des Moines Register poll.

Trump led that poll with 51%, compared to 19% for DeSantis; 16% for Haley; 5% for Ramaswamy; and 4% for Christie. The poll carried a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points. 

 

Sandy Fitzgerald

Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics. 

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


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The last GOP presidential debate before the Iowa caucuses, moderated by CNN, may be in peril, as only Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has agreed to participate. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has not committed to attend the event and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and...
iowa, debate, haley, desantis, election
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Tuesday, 12 December 2023 08:42 AM
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