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Miami GOP presidential debate likely to have the smallest field of Republican candidates to date


Even before former Vice President Mike Pence dropped out of the race for president this past weekend, the field of Republicans vying for the nomination had begun to drop off as well, as the third GOP presidential debate looms.

That debate is scheduled for next week in Miami and is expected to have the smallest group of candidates to grace the debate stage compared to the two earlier forums in August and September. There were eight candidates in the first debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and seven in the second debate in Simi Valley, California.

With former President Donald Trump stating he won’t be there, only four candidates qualify as of Monday, according to The New York Times tracker: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s campaign also says that he has qualified for the debate. A spokesperson for the campaign told the Phoenix on Monday that they “can confirm that the Senator has qualified and will be on the debate stage in Miami next week.”

With his large lead in the polls, Trump has opted not to participate in any of the debates so far this election cycle. His campaign announced last month that he will be holding a rally right around the same time of the debate about 11 miles away in Hialeah, at Ted Hendricks Stadium at Henry Milander Park.

The most recent polling regarding the GOP race comes from Iowa, where a Des Moines Register/NBC News/Mediacom survey released Monday showing Trump with a commanding lead with 43% support, 27% more than the next two candidates – Haley and DeSantis, both of whom are tied for second place at 16%.

The Miami event will be on DeSantis’ home turf, where the Florida governor needs again to make the most of the evening. While he’s received positive reviews for his performance in the first two debates, it’s had little impact on his poll ratings nationally or in the early voting states.

To qualify, candidates must poll at least 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 must have a minimum of 70,000 unique donors, with at least 200 unique donors per state or territory in at least 20 states or territories. And they need to have signed a pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee, something that Trump has not done.

On the outside looking in currently are South Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The RNC says that the candidates will have up until 48 hours before the debate to prove that they have met the criteria.

Along with Pence, other Republicans who have ended their presidential hopes include Miami Mayor Frances Suarez, talk-show host Larry Elder. businessman Perry Johnson, and former Texas Congressman Will Hurd.

The debate is scheduled to take place from 8 p.m. to 10 from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on Nov. 8, and will be broadcast on NBC. The moderators will be NBC News anchor Lester Holt, Meet the Press host Kristen Welker, and Salem Radio’s Huge Hewitt.

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: info@floridaphoenix.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.


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  • Charles

    Love seeing news from the Florida Phoenix — TBT making these available is a great service to the community, thanks.

    Wednesday, November 1, 2023 Report this