Republican presidential candidates will meet in Milwaukee this August for their first debate of the 2024 campaign cycle, Republican National Committeewoman Rona McDaniel announced Thursday in an email to party insiders obtained by NBC News.
The exact date and criteria for participation have not yet been determined, but the event will coincide with the RNC’s summer meeting and continue a tradition of holding the first debate in the same city that will host the next year’s GOP convention. The RNC previously selected Milwaukee as the site of its 2024 nominating confab.
“At this time, no other debates have been approved, nor have final criteria for the first debate been decided,” McDaniel wrote in an email to RNC members. “The committee will continue its work and will issue updates as they become available.”
McDaniel said, “We have a long way to go, but I am confident that we will be able to showcase our potential candidate in a world-class manner.”
The move to hold the first debate in Milwaukee mirrors the decision to hold the first debate of the 2016 campaign in Cleveland, which hosted the Republican National Convention the following year. But the GOP’s 2024 debate will be the first since that cycle. The RNC stopped the primary debate when then-President Donald Trump ran for re-election in 2020 without any serious primary opposition.
Trump, who lost his bid for a second term, is running again but has already lined up primary challengers, including Nikki Haley, his former ambassador to the United Nations. Other Republicans are expected to join the race, most notably Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who has led Trump in some primary polls.
McDaniel, who has been close to Trump since electing him as RNC chair more than six years ago, has pledged neutrality for 2024. Primary and general election debates.”
After the first primary debate, Republicans will hold one debate per month through the end of this year, increasing to two or more a month starting in January, a person familiar with the ongoing discussions told NBC at the RNC winter meetings last month. Told the news.
The person said the committee is in talks with major news networks about hosting the upcoming slate of presidential primary debates and has clarified its position on “moderators and fairness.”
“We are looking for moderators who do not want to be part of the story,” this person said. “We’re not looking for moderators who say, ‘How do I ask a question that’s going to be repeated during a general election debate?'”
Nearly all major broadcast and cable news networks are being considered as potential debate hosts. The party would like to see the network partner with conservative organizations for the debate – including the selection of moderators.
The only hard-and-fast requirement for moderator selection: that they have not previously worked for a Democratic politician nor said “arrogant things about any of our potential candidates,” said a source familiar with the preparations.
“I know my friends who are on [the RNC’s debate committee] Oscar Brock, an RNC committeeman from Tennessee, told NBC News at the winter meetings, “Really pushing for transparency and fairness because they can make sure we’re not tipping the scale for either candidate, Whoever it is.” , “Whether it’s a state senator from Nebraska, or a former president of the United States.”