© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Tim

By Nathan Layne and Kanishka Singh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The third Republican primary debate in the race to be the party’s presidential nominee will be held in Miami, Florida, in early November, a Republican National Committee official said on Thursday.

THE TAKE

The first Republican debate was held in August, and had eight candidates on stage. The second and next Republican debate is on Sept. 27 at the Reagan Library in California.

Former President Donald Trump, the runaway front-runner in the nominating contest according to opinion polls, has said he will skip the debates, and did not appear at the first one.

Trump may hold a rival event at the same time as the debates, as he did last month when he sat down for an online interview with former Fox host Tucker Carlson.

CONTEXT

* With the Republican-controlled House of Representatives launching a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden over alleged links to the business practices of his son Hunter Biden, future debates are expected to feature a barrage of accusations against the Democratic president.

* Most candidates have thus far hesitated to attack Trump due to his popularity with the Republican base, despite his four indictments.

* With Trump currently crushing his rivals by roughly 40 percentage points in national polls, the Republican nominating contest has become a fight for second place.

* Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, long seen as Trump’s main challenger, will be looking for some breakout moments to rejuvenate his candidacy.



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