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GOP presidential candidates square off

Five Republican presidential candidates are set to take the stage in Miami on Wednesday night for the third debate of the 2024 GOP primary cycle, with pressure mounting and time running out to shake up the race.

But the candidates will once again be denied a shot at their biggest rival, former President Donald Trump, whose decision to skip each and every primary debate has not damaged his commanding lead in the polls.

The two-hour debate, hosted by NBC News, is set to kick off at 8 p.m. ET at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. Salem Radio Network and the Republican Jewish Coalition were selected as partners by the Republican National Committee.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott will participate in the debate.

With just five on stage, it’s safe to expect a very different dynamic from the more crowded prior debates, which often devolved into a porridge of overlapping slogans and one-liners.

The churning battle for second place has birthed new rivalries: DeSantis and Haley have opened fire on each other ahead of the debate, with the ex-UN ambassador even offering a “debate preview” in the form of a campaign release panning the Florida governor as a liar.

As he did for the first two debates, Trump is seeking to upstage his opponents by counter-programming the event. He is scheduled to host a rally starting at 7 p.m. ET in nearby Hialeah, Florida, at Ted Hendricks stadium.

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