AP

DeSantis and Haley go head to head in the fifth Republican presidential debate

Jan 9, 2024, 1:20 PM

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - DECEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidates former U.N. Ambassador Nikki ...

TUSCALOOSA, ALABAMA - DECEMBER 06: Republican presidential candidates former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (L) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participate in the NewsNation Republican Presidential Primary Debate at the University of Alabama Moody Music Hall on December 6, 2023 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The four presidential hopefuls squared off during the fourth Republican primary debate without current frontrunner and former U.S. President Donald Trump, who has declined to participate in any of the previous debates. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The fifth Republican presidential debate of the 2024 election season will also be its first head-to-head matchup.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley are the only candidates taking part in Wednesday night’s debate in Iowa. President Donald Trump, widely considered the GOP field’s front-runner, will again be skipping the event.

Other previous debate participants, including conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, didn’t make the cut.

What time is the Republican debate?

The debate will start at 9 p.m. EST Wednesday. It’s being moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

What channel is the Republican debate on?

CNN is carrying the debate live on its broadcast network, as well as on CNN International, CNN en Español and CNN Max. It’s the first debate of the 2024 election cycle that CNN is hosting.

Where is the Republican debate?

The setting for the fifth GOP debate is Des Moines’ Drake University, which has played host to presidential debates in each of the four-year cycles since 2007.

The debate comes just five days before the Iowa caucuses kick off the 2024 voting calendar.

Which candidates will be on stage?

Three candidates — Trump, DeSantis and Haley — qualified for the debate stage, but only DeSantis and Haley have committed to attend.

Instead of joining his rivals, Trump is participating in a town hall on Fox News, airing at the same time and taking place about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from the debate site.

Haley and DeSantis were both scheduled to take part in their own Fox News town halls earlier this week in Des Moines. The rivalry between the two has only increased as they vie to be the leading GOP alternative to Trump.

DeSantis has said he expects to win Iowa despite trailing far behind Trump in polls. He has portrayed Haley, a former South Carolina governor who was Trump’s U.N. ambassador, as a puppet of wealthy donors and someone who has flip-flopped on key issues.

Haley, who hopes to edge out the better-organized DeSantis in Iowa, has accused him of misrepresenting her record, especially on taxes, and of falsely portraying himself as tough on China.

To qualify for CNN’s Iowa debate, candidates needed to register at least 10% support in three separate polls, either nationally or in Iowa.

Ramaswamy, who qualified for other debates but not this one, said he would be participating in a podcast with Tim Pool instead.

What’s up next?

There are already other debates on the books in the next state to cast GOP votes: New Hampshire, on Jan. 23.

ABC has announced plans for a debate on Jan. 18 at Saint Anselm College. CNN also intends to hold another debate on Jan. 21 at New England College.

Candidates who finish in one of the top three spots in the Iowa caucuses will be invited to participate in CNN’s New Hampshire debate, as well as those who meet the network’s polling qualification, which includes a 10% polling threshold in New Hampshire.

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DeSantis and Haley go head to head in the fifth Republican presidential debate