Updated Jan 17, 2024 - Politics & Policy

CNN cancels New Hampshire Republican primary debate

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (L) and former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley speak during the fifth Republican presidential primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 10, 2024

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speak during the fifth Republican presidential primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 10. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

CNN is no longer hosting a New Hampshire Republican primary debate, as "only one qualifying candidate accepted" the invitation to take the stage, a spokesperson for the network said Wednesday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after ABC News also canceled its New Hampshire debate, following former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley saying that she would only participate in debates if former President Trump is on the stage, too.

  • CNN was originally planning to host a Republican primary debate in New Hampshire on Jan. 21, two days before the state's primary.
  • The New Hampshire primary comes after Trump cruised to victory in the Iowa caucuses, where Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second and Haley finished third.

State of play: Haley on Tuesday wrote on the social media platform X that she would only participate in debates if President Biden or Trump, who has skipped every primary debate, also participate.

  • "Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them," Haley said of the previous debates. "He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it."
  • DeSantis said Tuesday that Haley "is afraid to debate because she doesn't want to answer the tough questions."

What to watch: CNN said Wednesday that it is hosting a town hall with Haley on Thursday at New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire.

  • "We will continue to pursue other opportunities as the campaign season progresses through 2024, including candidate Town Halls," the CNN spokesperson said.

Go deeper: Haley and DeSantis turn their fire on Trump in final pre-Iowa debate

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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