(The Hill) – Republican presidential hopefuls are slated to take the stage Wednesday night to make their cases to voters in the first 2024 presidential primary debate.
While former President Trump remains the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, his rival candidates are hoping this debate will help them make a name for themselves as they balance trying to separate themselves from Trump without turning away his supporters.
Candidates needed to meet certain requirements set by the Republican National Committee to be able to participate in Wednesday’s debate. To qualify, candidates need at least 40,000 separate donors to their presidential campaign committee, which includes at least 200 from 20 or more states and territories.
They also must be polling at 1 percent or higher in at least three authorized national polls or at 1 percent or higher in two national polls together with one “early state poll” from two “carve out” states recognized by the RNC. In addition, they must sign a loyalty pledge to support whoever becomes the eventual Republican nominee.
Here’s what you need to know about the first GOP debate:
When is the debate?
The debate will start at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. It is being held at Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum.
Who is hosting the debate?
Fox News is hosting the debate, with network hosts Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum moderating it.
Where can I watch it?
The debate will be covered across all platforms operated by the Fox News network, including Fox Business Network, Fox News Digital, the Fox Nation streaming service and Fox News Audio.
The RNC also said it would be livestreamed on Rumble, a video-sharing service popular with conservatives.
What candidates will participate?
At least eight of the GOP presidential candidates have met the requirements to qualify for the debate, as of Monday.
Republican presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson announced Sunday that he is the latest candidate to qualify for the debate. Hutchinson, the former Arkansas governor, said in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” that he has surpassed the 40,000 individual donor threshold and also previously met the polling criteria.
Hutchinson is expected to join Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Vice President Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum on the debate stage Wednesday.
Trump will notably not be on the debate stage.
Where will Trump be?
Trump confirmed Sunday that he will not attend the Wednesday debate and floated the possibility that he will skip future debates, citing his comfortable lead in the polls as reason not to do it.
The former president’s announcement came days after it was reported that Trump planned to sit for a pre-taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson instead of attending the debate. Since Carlson left Fox News earlier this year, he launched an online version of his prime-time show on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Trump has suggested the possibility of him skipping the debates for months as he has questioned why he would attend given his strong lead in the polls. Several candidates have called on him to attend the debates, including DeSantis, who said last month that Trump needs to “step up and do it.”