Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who have gained momentum in the GOP's third debate in Florida, are now turning their attention to the Iowa caucus. However, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has issued a warning to all presidential hopefuls, stating that they would be barred from future debates if they participate in an Iowa forum hosted by a Christian organization.
The Family Leader Foundation has invited several presidential candidates to engage in a discussion that promises to be "moderated, friendly, and open." Despite this, the RNC has threatened disqualification of GOP presidential candidates from debates if they choose to participate in the Iowa forum, which is not officially sanctioned by the national party. Candidates were reminded of the pledge they signed, committing not to take part in debates like the one in Des Moines, according to reports.
"Any Republican presidential candidate who participates in this or other similar events will be deemed to have violated this pledge and will be disqualified from taking part in any future RNC-sanctioned presidential primary debates," the October 28-dated letter said.
Following the third debate clash, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley are refocusing their efforts on the battle for Iowa. While it remains unclear if Haley has confirmed her participation, DeSantis has committed to the cause. Both candidates are heading to Iowa, engaging in a series of planned events to sway voter momentum in their favor.
Although Trump continues to lead in the GOP primaries with a significant advantage over other candidates in Iowa, contenders like DeSantis and Haley aim to narrow the gap. The third debate saw them making significant gains by directly challenging the former president and articulating clearer positions on foreign policy. Their aspiration is to secure at least the second position in the primaries.
A poll survey of local Republican leaders in Iowa indicates that Haley's rise in the first caucus state can be attributed to her impressive performance in the third GOP debate. Both leaders and voters have been notably impressed by her showing during the event.
Meanwhile, the Foundation has invited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former President Donald Trump to participate in its forum. DeSantis confirmed Friday he’ll attend the group's event. “I’m going to be there at The Family Leader, I think it’s an important part of this process,” he said. “I’ll be here no matter what happens, and so you guys can pencil me in for that,” he told reporters after a campaign event in Ames, Iowa.
Tricia McLaughlin, a spokesperson for the Ramaswamy campaign, told NBC News in a statement that the campaign is “hopeful that RNC and the Family Leader will be able to work out their logistical issues to best serve the voters.” Tim Scott and Nikki Haley have not confirmed their participation.
It appears that Donald Trump will not be participating in the Iowa event hosted by the Family Leader Foundation. A spokesperson for the group has informed NBC News that Bob Vander Plaats, the CEO of the organization, has been openly critical of the former President. This criticism seems to have led to Trump's decision to skip the event. The Family Leader Foundation's event aims to facilitate a moderated and open discussion among White House hopefuls, and it appears that the absence of Trump may influence the dynamics of the forum.
(With Agency Inputs)