**Showdown in Iowa: Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis go head-to-head in Republican debate**
The upcoming Republican debate in Iowa is set to take center stage, featuring former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. This crucial event will serve as the final GOP debate prior to the commencement of the 2024 nominating process on Monday, starting with the Iowa caucuses.
**The Debate Details**
The debate, scheduled to be hosted by CNN, will take place at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa and will be moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. It is set to commence at 9 p.m. E.T. and will be broadcasted live on CNN and streamed on CNN Max, CNN.com, as well as CNN apps on connected TVs and mobile devices.
**The Exclusive Participants**
Haley and DeSantis are the exclusive participants in this pivotal debate, having met the rigorous criteria set by CNN. The network required candidates to obtain at least 10% in three separate national and/or Iowa polls of Republican caucus-goers or primary voters, with one of the polls needing to be an approved CNN poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers.
**Trump’s Absence and Alternative Arrangements**
Former President Donald Trump, who also qualified for the debate, has opted to forego participating and will instead be holding a televised town hall meeting concurrently. Trump’s decision to skip the debate has sparked widespread anticipation, with the town hall being organized by Fox News and moderated by anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum in Iowa.
**The Latest Poll Insights**
Latest polls reveal Trump’s significant lead in Iowa, where 58% of likely GOP caucus voters expressed their preference for him. DeSantis garnered support from 22% of the voters, while Haley secured 13% backing. Notably, DeSantis needs to garner substantial support in Iowa to maintain his viability for the nomination, whereas Haley is anticipated to excel in New Hampshire, with potential benefits if Chris Christie withdraws from the race before the primary there on Jan. 23.
As the Republican debate in Iowa approaches, all eyes are on Haley and DeSantis as they strive to emerge as the primary viable alternative to Trump. The outcome of this highly anticipated showdown is poised to have a profound impact on the trajectory of the Republican presidential campaign, compelling both candidates to articulate their visions and policy platforms in a bid to sway voters and elevate their standings in the race.
*In conclusion*, the Republican debate in Iowa is poised to be a pivotal moment in the 2024 presidential race, featuring two prominent contenders vying to carve out their positions as viable alternatives to the dominant force of Trump. As the political arena prepares for this highly anticipated event, the performances of Haley and DeSantis in the debate are set to provide crucial insights into the evolving dynamics of the Republican candidacy landscape.