Meet the Eight Candidates Appearing in the First Republican Primary Debate

The Republican National Committee (RNC) announced the eight presidential candidates who will appear in the first GOP debate on Wednesday.

The following candidates are participating in Wednesday’s debate: Gov. Doug Burgum (ND), former Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Gov. Asa Hutchinson (AR), former Vice President Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Sen. Tim Scott (SC).

Fox News will host the debate Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said the RNC “is excited to showcase our diverse candidate field and the conservative vision to beat Joe Biden on the debate stage Wednesday night.”

“I’d like to thank the RNC’s debate committee Chairman Dave Bossie and Co-Chair Anne Hathaway and our debate partners, Fox News, Young America’s Foundation, and Rumble for their work to kick off the primary process that will put our Party and eventual nominee in the best position to take back the White House next fall,” she added in a statement.

Notably missing is the Republican primary frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, who announced he would not be attending Wednesday’s debate due to a significant polling advantage. 

“The public knows who I am & what a successful Presidency I had, with Energy Independence, Strong Borders & Military, Biggest EVER Tax & Regulation Cuts, No Inflation, Strongest Economy in History, & much more. I WILL THEREFORE NOT BE DOING THE DEBATES!” Trump said on Truth Social.

Instead, Trump is expected to air an interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson during the same time as the debates on Wednesday evening.

A Fairleigh Dickenson University poll released Thursday found that Trump has a 43-point advantage over his second-closest challenger, Gov. DeSantis. 

Candidates who did not qualify for the RNC debate include conservative radio host Larry Elder, former Rep. Will Hurd (TX), Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, and businessman Perry Johnson. 

Johnson claimed the debate process “has been corrupted.”

“The debate process has been corrupted, plain and simple. Our campaign hit every metric put forward by the RNC and we have qualified for the debate. We’ll be in Milwaukee Wednesday and will have more to say tomorrow,” Johnson posted online.

Elder claimed he “qualified” for the debate, despite not being on the RNC’s official list. 

“I am proud to announce that my campaign has qualified for the RNC Presidential Debate in Milwaukee,” Elder posted online Monday.

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton is a reporter for Breitbart News. Write to him at or follow him on Twitter.

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