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ABC News cancels Republican debate scheduled for Thursday

Candidate no-shows convinced the broadcasters to abandon their plans.

Candidate no-shows convinced the broadcasters to abandon their plans.

Donald Trump appears at an event in 2011. (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr Creative Commons)

ABC News and Hearst Television’s WMUR-TV have canceled plans to host a Republican primary debate scheduled for Thursday.

The decision to abandon the debate was made after ABC News and WMUR (Channel 9, ABC) said there was a lack of participation from eligible candidates.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump, the presumptive front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, has abstained from participating in most debates during this election cycle. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley did not respond to a deadline set by ABC News and WMUR to confirm her participation in the debate, the broadcasters said.

Two other Republican candidates — Florida Governor Ron Desantis and Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — were also eligible to participate in the debate. Christie suspended his campaign last week, leaving DeSantis as the only other possible participant in the debate.

On Monday, Trump emerged as the winner of the Iowa Caucus, the first content in the 2024 Presidential election cycle. Earlier this morning, Haley said she would only participate in future debates if Trump showed up, or if they were against current U.S. President Joe Biden.

“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,” a spokesperson for ABC News 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.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).