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Vivek Ramaswamy mulls skipping third RNC debate

His abstention from the event would not be unprecedented, as former President Donald Trump has skipped all of the primary debates thus far.

Published: October 20, 2023 6:42pm

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy may skip the third Republican primary debate and is considering alternative programming to promote his political vision.

In early October, the Ramaswamy campaign called on the Republican National Committee (RNC) to limit participation in the third primary debate, currently slated for Nov. 8 in Miami, Fla. The biotech mogul currently stands in third or fourth place in most polls.

Ramaswamy campaign spokeswoman Tricia McLaughlin confirmed to Just the News on Friday that "we are weighing our options for that night." McLaughlin did not specify what alternative events or programming the campaign was exploring. Ramaswamy originally floated the idea during a Wednesday appearance on Fox News.

His abstention from the event would not be unprecedented, as former President Donald Trump has skipped all of the primary debates thus far. In lieu of participating in the first debate, Trump opted to release a prerecorded interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a move widely seen as a snub to the network, which hosted the event. Instead of attending the second debate, Trump held a rally with striking auto workers in Michigan.

The last debate saw Ramaswamy engage in heated exchanges with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and the myriad other participants. Campaign CEO Ben Yoho cited the litany of incoherent exchanges in urging the RNC to trim the roster for the third debate.

"[A]gainst the backdrop of a chaotic second debate and the reality of a frontrunner who has declined to participate, we respectfully call on the RNC to revise its approach so that Republican voters can focus on serious candidates who have a viable path to beating Joe Biden—or whomever the Democrats put up to replace him," he wrote to the RNC at the time.

The Ramaswamy proposal would have limited participation to the top four candidates, excluding Trump, who stands as the contest's clear front runner. Under present polling, the Ramaswamy pitch would have confined the debate to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Haley, Ramaswamy, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

The RNC rejected the suggestion, however, and has stood by its original debate qualification criteria. In order to make the stage, candidates must reach 4% support in two national polls or a mix of one national and two separate state polls. Moreover, they must clear 70,000 unique donors, including at least 200 each from at least 20 states.

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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