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ABC News cancels its Republican primary debate due to not having enough participants

Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, right and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, pointing at each other during the CNN Republican presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 10, 2024.
Andrew Harnik
/
AP
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, right and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, pointing at each other during the CNN Republican presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 10, 2024.

ABC News has canceled its Republican primary debate that was scheduled for Thursday. The news organization said it does not have enough candidates who are participating.

"Our intent was to host a debate coming out of the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew that would be contingent on the candidates and the outcome of the race," ABC News reported Tuesday. "As a result, while our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and [local news station] WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday's Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire."

The outlet said candidates Nikki Haley and Donald Trump did not confirm their participation by the deadline that ABC News set in place.

Haley said on social media she wants to face off with either Trump or President Biden in her next debate.

"We've had five great debates in this campaign," she said. "Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them. He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it."

Haley, a former U.N. ambassador, placed third in the Iowa caucus, garnering about 19% of the vote, behind Trump's 51% and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' 21%.

DeSantis and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie had agreed to join the debate, but Christie dropped out of the presidential race last week.

DeSantis said Haley was "afraid to debate" in a post to X, formerly known as Twitter.

"The reality is that she is not running for the nomination, she's running to be Trump's VP," he said.

He added, "I won't snub New Hampshire voters like both Nikki Haley and Donald Trump, and plan to honor my commitments. I look forward to debating two empty podiums in the Granite State this week."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]