The Second Republican Presidential Primary Debate: Candidates Narrowing, Trump Skips Again

The second Republican presidential primary debate is quickly approaching, and the field of candidates is narrowing. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who participated in the first debate, failed to qualify for the second one, which will take place on Wednesday, September 27.[0] Hutchinson had until Monday night to meet the polling and fundraising criteria set by the Republican National Committee (RNC), but he fell short.

This stage of the debate represents a small winnowing from the previous month's debate, where all seven candidates participated.[1] However, this time around, Hutchinson did not have the polling numbers needed to qualify. The other candidates who shared the stage with him last month—Doug Burgum, Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Mike Pence, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Tim Scott—all made the cut.[0]

Donald Trump, who skipped the first debate, has also chosen to skip this week's event.[2] Instead, he will be appearing at a number of events in Michigan.[0] Despite his absence, Trump's lead in the polls remains strong, and his decision to skip the debates has not seemed to harm his campaign.[3]

To qualify for the second debate, candidates had to meet certain criteria set by the RNC.[4] They had to have a minimum of 50,000 unique donors to their campaign or exploratory committee, with at least 200 donors in 20 or more states.[5] Additionally, candidates had to reach at least 3% support in two national polls or 3% in one national poll and 3% in two polls conducted in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina.[6] These four states are the ones that lead off the Republican presidential nominating calendar.[4]

The second debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, and will be simulcast on Fox Business and Fox News.[1] It is scheduled to run from 9 to 11 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.[7] The moderators for the debate will be Stuart Varney and Dana Perino.[7]

In addition to the debate, there will be a “Countdown to the Debate” special hosted by Fox Business pundit Larry Kudlow.[8] The debate will also be available to stream live on Rumble's website and app. It is expected to last for two hours.[8]

The seven candidates who have qualified for the second debate are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Ohio entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, former Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum.[9]

While some candidates may see skipping the debates as a disadvantage, it has not appeared to harm Trump's campaign. His lead in the polls remains strong, and his decision to avoid the debates is in line with previous front-running candidates who have decided that the potential downside of participating in a debate outweighs the benefits.

As the second debate approaches, candidates will need to make some noise if they want to challenge Trump's lead. Time is running out for his rivals, and this debate represents an opportunity for them to gain ground. However, with Trump's strong polling numbers, it remains to be seen if any of the other candidates will be able to make a significant impact.

Overall, the second Republican presidential primary debate promises to be an important event in the race for the nomination. As candidates vie for attention and support, the stage is set for a lively and engaging discussion on the most pressing issues facing the nation.

0. “Asa Hutchinson Didn't Make the Cut for the Second GOP Debate” The Daily Beast, 26 Sep. 2023,

1. “Here's who made the second Republican presidential debate” POLITICO, 26 Sep. 2023,

2. “Stage set for second GOP debate. Here's who's on it”, 26 Sep. 2023,

3. “Seven Republicans appear to have made the second debate” ABC News, 26 Sep. 2023,

4. “These seven candidates will be on the stage at the second Republican presidential nomination debate” Fox Business, 26 Sep. 2023,

5. “GOP donors grapple with Trump’s staying power as second Republican presidential debate looms” CNN, 20 Sep. 2023,

6. “Seven GOP presidential candidates are set to debate Wednesday night” The Washington Post, 26 Sep. 2023,

7. “8 candidates qualify for next GOP primary debate; Donald Trump to skip again” UPI News, 25 Sep. 2023,

8. “How to Watch the Second Republican Debate Live” The Messenger, 25 Sep. 2023,

9. “GOP Debate Will Have Fewer Republican Candidates on Asa Hutchinson Low Polls” Bloomberg, 26 Sep. 2023,

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