Five GOP candidates were on stage Wednesday night for the third GOP presidential debate at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami.
NBC News’ Lester Holt and Kristen Welker were moderators for the two-hour debate, along with conservative talk-show host Hugh Hewitt of “The Hugh Hewitt Show.” The Republican Jewish Coalition is co-sponsoring the debate, along with NBC News and the Salem Radio Network.
Despite being the leading GOP candidate according to polling, former President Donald Trump was again absent from the debate stage, choosing instead to hold a rally in the Miami suburb of Hialeah, Florida.
The stage was less crowded than the two previous debates. Since the second debate on Sept. 27, former Vice President Mike Pence withdrew from the race. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who participated in the first two presidential debates, did not meet the polling threshold to qualify for the third debate. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson did not qualify to be on stage Wednesday night’s face-off or for the previous debate.
Candidates who did qualify for, and are participating in, the third debate: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The following are some of the most noteworthy answers and exchanges from the debate.