In an unexpected twist ahead of Wednesday's pivotal GOP presidential primary debate in Alabama, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been announced as a last-minute addition to the roster of candidates taking the stage.
This development comes as the Republican National Committee (RNC) confirms a high-stakes lineup featuring Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, with the debate set to be held at the University of Alabama.
Governor DeSantis, Ambassador Haley, and Mr. Ramaswamy had previously met the stringent criteria established by the RNC for debate participation. However, Christie's inclusion is particularly noteworthy, given his eleventh-hour surge in polling figures, which ensured his spot on the debate stage just days before the cut-off date.
Debate Night Scheduled
This much-anticipated debate, co-hosted by NewsNation, The Megyn Kelly Show on SiriusXM, The Washington Free Beacon, and Rumble, is scheduled to commence at 8 p.m. EST. It is expected to offer a vibrant platform for the candidates to articulate their visions and policies, significantly influencing the GOP's trajectory ahead of the presidential election.
Conspicuously absent from the lineup is former President Donald Trump, the current frontrunner in the field. Despite meeting the qualifications for participation, Trump has chosen to eschew all RNC-sanctioned debates, advocating instead for the cancellation of future events.
In lieu of engaging in the debate, Trump has planned to attend a fundraising event in Florida, a move consistent with his strategy of hosting counterprogramming during past debates. This debate is poised to be the most intimate of the election cycle thus far, with only four candidates participating, compared to five in last month's debate.
This reduction in numbers follows the withdrawal of Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) from the race and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum's recent exit. Burgum cited his exclusion from the debate stage as a key factor in his decision to end his campaign, challenging the RNC's approach to narrowing the field of candidates.