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New Hampshire debates canceled over lack of commitment from candidates

Two scheduled ahead of the state's primary were called off after Nikki Haley said she wouldn't participate unless former President Donald Trump does.
Posted at 9:14 AM, Jan 17, 2024

Both Republican presidential debates that were scheduled ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Monday have now been called off.  ABC News and WMUR-TV canceled a Thursday debate, citing a lack of participation from candidates. 

"Our intent was to host a debate coming out of the Iowa caucuses, but we always knew that would be contingent on the candidates and the outcome of the race," an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement. "As a result, while our robust election coverage will continue, ABC News and WMUR-TV will not be moving forward with Thursday’s Republican presidential primary debate in New Hampshire."

Shortly after the announcement, CNN followed suit by dropping a second scheduled GOP debate for Sunday, instead opting to hold a Thursday town hall with presidential candidate and former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.

"CNN is no longer moving forward with a New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary Debate, as only one qualifying candidate accepted our information to take the stage," a network spokesperson said. "We will continue to pursue other opportunities as the campaign season progresses through 2024."

Nikki Haley turns focus to New Hampshire after finishing 3rd in Iowa
Nikki Haley

Nikki Haley turns focus to New Hampshire after finishing 3rd in Iowa

Haley appeared at numerous sites across Iowa on Monday but struggled with an apparent lack of a robust ground game.


Both cancellations came after Haley said Tuesday that she would not participate in another GOP debate unless Trump — who has skipped all of the previous five events — showed up.

"We've had five great debates in this campaign," Haley said in a statement. "Unfortunately, Donald Trump has ducked all of them. He has nowhere left to hide. The next debate I do will either be with Donald Trump or with Joe Biden. I look forward to it." 

Her announcement came one day after the Iowa caucuses, in which Trump blew both Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis out of the water by a large margin of victory. Haley finished third, slightly behind DeSantis, but it appears she is now aiming her campaign at the party front-runner ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Monday. 

GOP candidates now gearing up to take on New Hampshire primary
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump

GOP candidates now gearing up to take on New Hampshire primary

Former President Donald Trump won 51% of the vote in Iowa, for the largest margin in the history of the state's caucuses.


Haley's decision not to debate could also be in response to the most recent GOP debate last week in Iowa, when she went toe-to-toe with DeSantis, but didn't put up a strong performance and ultimately finished 2.1% behind the Florida governor in Monday's caucuses. DeSantis, in response, has accused her campaign of eyeing a vice presidential nomination, rather than a presidential nomination.

"Haley is afraid to debate because she doesn't want to answer the tough questions such as how she got rich off Boeing after giving them millions in taxpayer handouts as governor of South Carolina," DeSantis said in a statement. "The reality is that she is not running for the nomination, she’s running to be Trump’s VP."