The final Republican debate before the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses will feature only two candidates — former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said CNN, the host of the Jan. 10 debate, but there will be plenty of simultaneous options to pick from if the voters choose not to turn on CNN.
CNN’s Iowa debate will be moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash at 9 p.m. ET on Jan. 10 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Only Haley, DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have qualified for CNN’s debate.
Trump, as he did during the past debates, will not be participating in the CNN debate.
Instead, Trump will be the focus of attention at a FOX News town hall at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa at the very same time of CNN’s debate.
Both DeSantis and Haley have criticized Trump’s lack of participation in the republican debates so far.
“He’s not been willing to come here and answer questions,” DeSantis told reporters last week in Elkader, Iowa. “He parachutes in for 30, 45-minute, hour speech and then just leaves, rather than listening to Iowans answering questions and doing, I think, what it takes to win.”
"With only three candidates qualifying, it's time for Donald Trump to show up," Haley said in a statement. "As the debate stage continues to shrink, it's getting harder for Donald Trump to hide."
Trump is approximately 50 points ahead of the other candidates in the GOP primary and has declared the contest over. Recent polls showing Haley closing on Trump are suspect as they don't correspond to voter enthusiasm on the ground.
To qualify to participate in CNN’s Iowa debate, candidates must have received at least 10% in three separate national and/or Iowa polls of Republican caucus attendees or primary voters that meet CNN’s standards. One of the three polls must be an approved CNN poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus attendees.
Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson did not meet CNN’s qualifications.
Ramaswamy is planning to do a live-audience show on Jan. 10 with journalist Tim Pool.
Ramaswamy is known for slamming journalists as he did some of CNN’s reporters, hosts, and commentators claiming they are pushing "shenanigans" towards him.
“On Dec 13, CNN disgracefully cut short its own Iowa town hall with me after I correctly pointed out uncomfortable truths about Jan 6, which CNN instantly dismissed as ‘conspiracy theories,'” Ramaswamy tweeted.
Every network and national party in the past, which has hosted debates, has set standards since the 1980s.
CNN will hold a second debate on January 21 in New Hampshire at New England College ahead of their state’s primary on January 23.
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