3 key questions for third Republican presidential debate

The debate will be held at 8 p.m. ET in Miami

(AP Photo/Mark Terrill, File) (Mark Terrill, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A day after election night, the Republican Party has decided to hold its third debate among candidates who have declared for the primary election.

The debate will start at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday and take place in Miami.

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Here are three key questions heading into the debate.

1. Who will participate?

There were seven candidates at the second debate, but with more stringent qualifying standards, there will be five candidates at this debate. One of them won’t be former President and poll-leader Donald Trump, who will skip the debate just as he has the first two.

The candidates who qualified for the third debate are:

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
  • Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley
  • Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott
  • Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy

For this debate, candidates had to meet qualifying thresholds of 4% of the vote in multiple polls and 70,000 unique donors.

All candidates are also required to sign a pledge to support the party’s eventual 2024 nominee if they want to participate.

Of note, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum didn’t meet the thresholds to participate in the debate.

2. Who will moderate the debate?

The debate will be hosted by NBC News and be moderated by lead anchor Lester Holt, “Meet the Press” host Kristen Welker and Hugh Hewitt, who hosts a morning talk show for the Salem Radio Network.

The debate is expected to last roughly two hours.

3. Doesn’t even matter at this point?

That is the biggest question of all.

None of the five participating candidates are polling anywhere close to Trump and even several prominent Republican donors are circling around a candidate that hasn’t even entered the race yet.

That potential candidate is Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who might be willing to submit to the wooing of several billionaire donors and enter the race now that the Virginia General Assembly elections are over with.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.