(CTN NEWS) – As the 2024 U.S. presidential race gathers momentum, the Republican Party is gearing up for its second major debate.
While the absence of former President Donald Trump may be the most noteworthy aspect of this event, the lineup of seven Republican Presidential Debate candidates set to take the stage on Wednesday in California is generating significant interest.
In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to these candidates, their key positions, and their standings in the race.
2024 Republican Presidential Debate: 7 Contenders Qualified
Despite a rocky campaign launch on Twitter, Ron DeSantis, the 45-year-old Florida governor, has positioned himself as one of the front-runners. DeSantis has carved out a niche to the right of Trump on some social issues, most notably abortion.
However, his campaign has faced difficulties gaining traction, and his top donor’s demand for a more moderate approach has added complexity to his bid.
While he remains Trump’s top rival, DeSantis lags far behind in opinion polls, and his campaign’s focus now lies in challenging Trump in Iowa’s first nominating contest.
Former Vice President Mike Pence has charted a different course from his former boss, particularly on the issue of the January 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Pence, 64, insists that “history will hold Trump accountable” for his role in the incident.
Despite his staunch conservatism and appeal to the evangelical Christian community, Pence’s campaign has struggled to raise funds and languishes in the low single digits in polls.
Vivek Ramaswamy, a 38-year-old former biotechnology investor and executive, is a political outsider who has made waves by pressuring firms to abandon certain corporate initiatives.
His strong performance in the first debate in Milwaukee garnered grassroots attention. Ramaswamy is a fervent Trump supporter, pledging to pardon the former president if elected.
Nikki Haley, 51, a former South Carolina governor and Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, emphasizes her youth and immigrant background as key differentiators.
She has gained recognition as a solid conservative who can address issues of gender and race credibly. Haley has positioned herself as a defender of American interests abroad, and her support among Republicans saw a slight uptick after a strong performance in the first debate.
The only Black Republican U.S. senator, Tim Scott, 58, may have low name recognition outside of South Carolina, but his optimism and focus on unifying the party make him stand out.
His approach contrasts with the more aggressive styles of Trump and DeSantis. Scott’s sunny demeanor appeals to some, although his support remains at 2% among Republicans.
Chris Christie, 61, who advised Trump’s White House campaign, later became a vocal critic of the former president following the events of January 6, 2021. The former New Jersey governor and federal prosecutor intensified his criticisms as Trump faced legal challenges.
Christie, too, finds himself with just 2% support among Republicans in recent polls.
North Dakota’s governor, Doug Burgum, 67, serving his second term after selling his software business to Microsoft, is one of the lesser-known contenders.
Burgum touts low taxes and fewer regulations as cornerstones of his campaign, positioning himself as a traditional conservative focusing on the economy and national security. However, he garners minimal support in current polls.
As the second 2024 Republican presidential debate approaches, these seven candidates will strive to distinguish themselves in a crowded field. Their varying positions on key issues, contrasting styles, and levels of support present a dynamic political landscape.
The absence of Trump adds an intriguing element to the contest, as each candidate seeks to secure their place in the party’s future and, potentially, the nation’s highest office.
The debate on September 28 promises to be a pivotal moment in the unfolding drama of the 2024 presidential race.
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