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5 candidates will face off in Miami. Here's how to watch the third GOP debate

Republican presidential candidates former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participate in the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in September.
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Republican presidential candidates former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis participate in the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in September.

Republicans are looking at a crowded, yet dwindling, field to challenge President Biden in the 2024 presidential election and five will face off in Miami on Wednesday night for the third GOP debate.

Late Monday night, the Republican National Committee confirmed the names of the presidential candidates who will participate, but front-runner and former President Donald Trump is preparing to skip — for the third time.

Here's everything you need to know about the third GOP presidential debate.

When and where to watch

The third presidential debate is in partnership with the Republican Jewish Coalition. It will take place from the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and will air from 8 p.m. ET to 10 p.m. ET on TV, streaming and digital platforms of NBC News.It also will be livestreamed by the online site Rumble, a video sharing platform with a primarily right-wing audience.

Lester Holt and Kristen Welker of NBC News along with conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt of The Hugh Hewitt Show will moderate the debate.

Follow NPR for debate updates and analysis.

Who will be there — and who won't?

The debating candidates had to meet criteria set by the RNC, which included reaching higher polling numbers and donor metrics than the last two debates, and meeting Federal Election Committee deadlines. They also had to sign a pledge agreeing to support the eventual party nominee.

Gov. Chris Christie — The former New Jersey governor launched another bid for the Republican nomination. Christie hasbeen positioning himself as the conservative alternative to Trump after breaking ties with the former president following the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. During the second GOP debate, Christie said that he would "vote Donald Trump off the island right now."

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to talk to reporters in the spin room at the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 27.
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Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis prepares to talk to reporters in the spin room at the FOX Business Republican Primary Debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on Sept. 27.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — Over the last several weeks, the Florida governorhas retooled his campaign strategy. This includes pivoting to focus on issues voters care about like immigration and inflation.

DeSantis has been at the center of Trump attack ads and also faced Republican criticism over laws signed in the state to limit abortion access and his response to immigration. He has widely been seen as the most viable GOP opponent to Trump, but his campaign has faced challenges including staffing turnover.

Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley answers reporters' questions after filing the New Hampshire Primary Ballot at the New Hampshire State House on Oct. 13 in Concord, N.H.
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Republican presidential candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley answers reporters' questions after filing the New Hampshire Primary Ballot at the New Hampshire State House on Oct. 13 in Concord, N.H.

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley — Haley, ambassador to the United Nations under Trump, has climbed up the polls in some states like New Hampshire in recent weeks. New Hampshire is among the early primary states and although Trump is still topping the polls, voters warn he shouldn't take their votes for granted. Haley was the first to challenge the former president and in the second GOP debate she sparred with DeSantis and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott over energy policy and had a memorable quip at fellow challenger Vivek Ramaswamy.

Vivek Ramaswamy — He is among the younger GOP candidates and he has used platforms like TikTok and podcasts to gain notoriety among young voters, although that has drawn criticism from fellow candidates. The former tech and finance executivehas been a prominent voice in conservative circles, arguing against the environmental, social and governance (ESG) movement and against "woke"-ism. Ramaswamy received a boost following the first GOP debate.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott —Another South Carolina contender, Scott brings a diverse background and upbringing to the white-dominated Republican Party. Over the last several months, Scott has turned to border policy as a key issue. He has criticized President Biden for not visiting the border, and instead visiting picketing autoworkers, and said that issues at the border should be more pressing than climate change.During the first debate, Scott said he would complete the border wall, increase domestic job creation, and said states like California and New York can't be allowed to "have abortions on demand" until birth.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott takes a brief tour of the Woodlawn neighborhood with Pastor Corey Brooks before speaking at Brooks' New Beginnings Church last month in Chicago.
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Republican presidential candidate Sen. Tim Scott takes a brief tour of the Woodlawn neighborhood with Pastor Corey Brooks before speaking at Brooks' New Beginnings Church last month in Chicago.

Trump is eligible but choosing not to attend, despite being the current front-runner for the nomination.

Not eligible for the debate are Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Candidates who have dropped out include former Vice President Mike Pence, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and former Texas Congressman Will Hurd.

What is Trump doing instead?

The former president is expected to host a rally in nearby Hialeah, Fla., at Ted Hendricks Stadium at 7 p.m. ET.

Trump skipped the first two presidential debates and held counter-programming, which included an interview with Tucker Carlson on X, formerly known as Twitter, and a rally with nonunion autoworkers in Michigan.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Trendsetter Engineering Inc. on Nov. 2 in Houston.
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Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Trendsetter Engineering Inc. on Nov. 2 in Houston.

Ximena Bustillo
Ximena Bustillo is a multi-platform reporter at NPR covering politics out of the White House and Congress on air and in print.