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Republican presidential candidates from left, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, participate in a Republican presidential primary debate Nov. 8, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

Four GOP Primary Hopefuls Face Off in Wednesday Night Debate

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The top four Republican primary challengers of former President Donald Trump are set to take the stage Wednesday night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for the fourth GOP primary debate, as time is running out to chip away at Trump's dominating lead.  

Taking the stage tonight are former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Trump, the current frontrunner, is noticeably sitting out the debate once again. 

While this is the smallest group yet for a GOP primary debate, there are only 40 days left until Iowa GOP voters weigh in, where recent polls show Trump leading DeSantis, his closest rival in the state by 20 to 30 points. 

"I think we're in good shape with DeSanctimonious," said Trump recently at an Iowa campaign event. "He seems to be dropping like a very, very sick bird into the ground."

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slider img 2As the primary field narrows, Haley is making significant gains as the number one alternative to Trump. 

While Trump dominates early voting state polls, in Iowa, a recent poll has Haley just two points behind DeSantis despite the Florida governor winning endorsements from Iowa kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats and Gov. Kim Reynolds (R-IA).

"We're going to win the Iowa caucus and that is going to propel us to being the 47th President of the United States," DeSantis recently told a cheering Iowa crowd at a campaign event with Reynolds. 

Polls show Haley as the solid choice for second in both New Hampshire and South Carolina just behind Trump.  

Longshot candidate Christie narrowly met the criteria to be on tonight's stage. He's focused his campaign on going after Trump and he's betting it all on New Hampshire where he's polling in third place. 

"When Donald Trump compares his domestic political opponents to vermin, language that those of us who know history, is equated with the worst of Nazi Germany," said Christie. 

While Ramaswamy has made a name for himself with his campaign, he remains at single digits in early voting state polls.

"This establishment in the Republican Party has lost its mind. I'm sick and tired of it. And that's what's created this culture of losing," Ramaswamy told reporters. 

The stakes are very high for the four candidates on stage tonight as this is the last debate before voters head to the polls.  All of the candidates had to sign a pledge with the Republican National Committee to support the ultimate nominee of the party, and the question remains if GOP voters have any appetite for someone besides Trump. 

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About The Author


Abigail Robertson serves as the White House Correspondent for CBN News, where she has worked since 2015. As a reporter, Abigail covers stories from a Christian perspective on American politics and the news of the day. Before her role at the White House, Abigail covered Capitol Hill, where she interviewed notable lawmakers such as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. During her time on the Hill, Abigail loved highlighting how God is moving in the House and Senate by covering different ministries on Capitol Hill and sharing lawmakers’ testimonies and