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NewsNation to host fourth 2024 GOP presidential primary debate

CHICAGO (NewsNation) — NewsNation announced Thursday it will host the fourth 2024 Republican presidential primary debate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

The live debate will air on NewsNation, at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 6. It will be broadcast simultaneously in the eastern and central time zones on the company’s broadcast television network, The CW.

“NewsNation’s mission is to provide fair and unbiased news coverage, and that’s the way we will approach this important debate. We take this responsibility very seriously and are proud to help inform and educate voters and to contribute to the democratic process,” Michael Corn, president of news at NewsNation, said.

The debate will also be livestreamed on NewsNation’s website.

Elizabeth Vargas, the Peabody award-winning anchor of NewsNation’s Elizabeth Vargas Reports; Megyn Kelly, host of The Megyn Kelly Show on SiriusXM; and Eliana Johnson, editor-in-chief of The Washington Free Beacon, will moderate the December debate.

Kelly, an experienced GOP primary debate moderator, moderated the first 2016 Republican presidential primary debate, which remains the most-watched debate in history.

Since the first 2024 debate, the crowded GOP primary race has slowly narrowed. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were among the remaining candidates who took to the debate stage Wednesday night for the third GOP primary debate in Miami.

Ahead of the fourth debate, the Republican National Committee (RNC) upped its qualification criteria for candidates hoping to get on the debate stage. Candidates will need to be polling at 6% or higher in two national polls, or at 6% in one early state poll from two separate “carve out” states — listed as Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to get behind a podium in December, according to the RNC press release. 

This is higher than the 4% requirements that were needed for Wednesday’s debate in Miami.

The polls also need to survey at least 8,000 registered likely Republican voters, among other requirements. 

While the Miami debate required at least 70,000 unique donors, candidates will need to bring in a minimum of 80,000 unique donors to their principal presidential campaign committee, with at least 200 unique donors in 20 or more states or territories each. 

At Wednesday’s debate, the candidates clashed on stage as all five scrambled to close the gap with former President Donald Trump, who holds a substantial lead over the rest of the field. The former president once again skipped the event and held a rally as counter-programming. 

Haley fielded numerous attacks throughout Wednesday night, underscoring her perceived strength among the non-Trump Republicans running for president.

Haley has been on the rise since the first debate back in August, and she has sought to keep up that momentum as she looks to knock DeSantis from his second-place perch.

Even Trump has taken notice, knocking her in the aftermath of the second debate. She has seen only more positive polling in the weeks leading up to Wednesday night’s event, making her a top target for her fellow competitors.

Haley argued in a memo over the weekend that she’s now the “only viable” Trump alternative. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll found Haley beating Biden in six battleground states in a hypothetical matchup. 

However, the challenge remains for each candidate to find a way to close the gap with Trump.

The Hill contributed to this report.

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