While the third GOP presidential primary debate is on the horizon, President Donald Trump has opted to hold a rally in Hialeah, Florida, on the same night, November 8. This bold move further highlights the divide between Trump and the other GOP presidential hopefuls as they vie for the nomination.
Trump, who boasts a comfortable lead in state and national polls, has been consistently critical of the debates, even calling for their cancellation. Instead, he has advocated for party unity in anticipation of the general election. A recent Emerson College poll placed Trump at 59% support among Republican voters. His closest rivals, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley are tied at a distant and fading 8%.
Trump to hold rally on the same night as the 3rd GOP presidential primary debate https://t.co/v1kdJsrKNC
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) October 21, 2023
The Republican National Committee has chosen NBC News, Salem Radio Network, the Republican Jewish Coalition and Rumble as partners for the debate. Despite the high-profile partners, Trump maintains that the debates are unnecessary. “The last debate was the lowest-rated debate in history. The next and probably last one, in Miami, will do even worse,” Trump said.
The 45th President’s decision to skip the debates is not without precedent. He previously sat out the first two GOP primary debates, opting for smaller engagements instead. In August, he sat for an interview with ex-Fox News host Tucker Carlson during the first debate. In September, he spoke to workers in Michigan during the second debate.
Trump’s rally in Hialeah, a heavily Cuban community, is a strategic move that targets a key demographic for Republicans. Miami-Dade County has become increasingly crucial for Republicans, especially regarding the Hispanic vote. In 2016, then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton narrowly won in Hialeah. However, in 2022, DeSantis captured more than 78% of the vote in the area during his gubernatorial reelection bid.
Trump’s popularity among Republicans in Florida is evident. This week, a Bloomberg/Morning Consult poll showed Trump leading President Biden among voters in seven battleground states.
The planned rally at Ted Hendricks Stadium at Henry Milander Park is Trump’s most overt attempt yet to draw attention away from the GOP-sanctioned debates. While other Republican candidates attend the debate in Miami, Trump will rally supporters just 15 miles away in Hialeah.
By holding a rally on the same night as the debate, Trump is sending a strong message to his supporters and rivals, as his influence over the party and its voters remains as strong as ever.