Dec 8, 2023 - Politics & Policy

RNC announces it won't hold future 2024 GOP primary debates

GOP primary presidential candidates debating on Dec. 6. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Republican National Committee will not participate in further 2024 GOP primary debates, the organization said Friday.

Why it matters: The RNC has held four debates with Republican primary candidates, which have seen declining viewership, though GOP frontrunner former President Trump has skipped them all.

  • "It is now time for Republican primary voters to decide who will be our next President," the RNC said in a statement weeks before the Iowa caucuses.
  • The organization freed candidates "to use any forum or format to communicate to voters as they see fit."

State of play: ABC News and CNN are both slated to host debates early next year in early primary states including New Hampshire and Iowa. The RNC has no affiliation with these, the organization said.

  • Candidates asked the RNC for flexibility in addressing voters moving forward.

Zoom out: The RNC prioritized conservative media — including Fox and NewsNation — as partners for the four debates it participated in.

  • The first GOP presidential debate brought former UN ambassador Nikki Haley the biggest polling boost, making her the subject of targets from the other candidates in following debates.

Between the lines: Debate viewership has fallen since the first one.

  • 4.1 million people tuned into Wednesday's debate on NewsNation.

Go deeper: New Hampshire school "surprised" it's listed to host CNN debate

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