Which Republican presidential candidates qualified for the fourth 2024 debate?

Candidates look to gain ground on Donald Trump as former president says he will skip event

The four Republican candidates scheduled to take part in the fourth presidential debate in Alabama, from left to right: Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy. AFP
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Only four Republicans will take the stage in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Wednesday night for the fourth presidential debate as the 2024 US primary season draws near.

The Republican field has considerably narrowed since this summer after multiple dropouts including former vice president Mike Pence and US Senator Tim Scott.

Former US president Donald Trump – who holds a commanding lead in the polls – is once again skipping the debate. He is scheduled to attending a fund-raiser in Florida instead.

With Mr Trump's absence and the potential to receive more speaking time, Wednesday's debate will give the four Republicans on stage the chance to gain ground on the front-runner.

Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has struggled to make inroads on Mr Trump since launching his campaign on Twitter Spaces in May.

Shortly after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, Mr DeSantis took steps to ban pro-Palestinian student organisation from university campuses in Florida, alleging it illegally backs Hamas.

He most recently participated in a televised debate with California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom.

Nikki Haley

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley has been rising in the polls to challenge Mr DeSantis for second in the field, and has also recently won the backing of a powerful conservative group.

Ms Haley has touted her foreign policy experience and spoken about the need to support Ukraine, contrasting her with Mr Trump and other candidates.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Business executive Vivek Ramaswamy is a staunch supporter of Mr Trump, and in previous debates laid out his position on far-right policies including cutting funding for Ukraine. He has also argued for the construction of a wall along the US-Canada border to halt the flow of fentanyl.

Chris Christie

The former New Jersey governor has been one of Mr Trump's most vocal critics since the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.

Mr Christie, who also ran in 2016, remains a distant fifth place in the Republican field.

Who missed the cut?

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson remains in the Republican field, but he has not appeared on the debate stage since the first event was held in August.

Updated: December 06, 2023, 5:47 AM