DeSantis, Ramaswamy to share center stage at first GOP debate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy will stand center stage at the first Republican presidential debate Wednesday in Milwaukee.

Fox News, which will host the debate, announced the stage lineup Tuesday. In all, the debate will feature eight candidates who qualified through the Republican National Committee.

Mr. DeSantis and Mr. Ramaswamy will be flanked by former Vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Ex-New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will stand to Mr. Pence’s left, while South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will stand to Mrs. Haley’s right.

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum round out the candidates, with both taking positions on the wings of the stage.

RNC qualification rules state that candidates are placed on stage according to polling numbers.

Notably absent from the lineup is former President Donald Trump. With a commanding lead in national polls, he has decided it’s not worth it to attend any of the primary debates.

Instead, Mr. Trump will appear in a taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson as a form of counterprogramming to Wednesday’s debate.

The RNC announced the slate of qualifying candidates Monday.

“The RNC is excited to showcase our diverse candidate field and the conservative vision to beat Joe Biden on the debate stage Wednesday night,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

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