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Milwaukee to host first Republican presidential primary debate in August

Milwaukee will host the Republicans' first presidential primary debate and the party's national convention. (Eric Baradt/AFP) (Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Republican National Committee will hold its first presidential primary debate in Milwaukee in August.

The organization’s Standing Committee on Presidential Debates voted to host the first debate in the same city that is scheduled to host the 2024 Republican National Convention.

In an email sent to RNC members, committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said no other debates have been sanctioned by the RNC and noted that the final criteria for the first debate have not been decided yet.

“The Committee will continue its work and will release updates as they become available,” McDaniel wrote. “We have a long way to go, but I am confident we will be able to showcase our eventual nominee in a world class fashion.”

Former president Donald Trump, who lost his reelection bid to Joe Biden in 2020, announced his 2024 candidacy in November. He was joined in the race on Feb. 14 by Nikki Haley, who served as United Nations ambassador during the Trump administration and as South Carolina’s governor before that.

Trump’s grip on the Republican base is slipping, even among his fans

Haley made her announcement in a 3½-minute video released online, in which she declared, “It’s time for a new generation of leadership.” The video emphasized Haley’s gender and her family’s immigrant roots.

As The Washington Post has previously reported, McDaniel plans to require all candidates on the official primary debate stages to first pledge their support to the party’s eventual nominee. Many of the potential contenders are pushing back, including Trump, who said this month that he won’t commit to supporting the winner if he loses the nomination.

“It would have to depend on who the nominee was,” he told a conservative radio host. Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, another potential candidate, recently tweeted that he “won’t commit to supporting” Trump.

Others have settled on more nuanced hedges. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, who just created a new organization to help him explore a possible campaign, says he will support the eventual nominee, but is certain Trump won’t be that person. Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson, who has not decided on whether to sign the pledge, has gone so far as to speak with McDaniel about his opposition to it, arguing that Republicans should not be enforcing litmus tests.