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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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June 16, 2024

GOP candidates make final stage appearance before ‘Super Tuesday’

Republican presidential hopefuls will face off for the 10th time Thursday, just days before 11 states go to the polls on “Super Tuesday.”
The GOP debate will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Moores Opera House on the University of Houston campus, and will feature Ben Carson, Donald Trump, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The debate will be moderated by CNN’s “The Situation Room” host Wolf Blitzer, best-selling author and Emmy award-winning journalist Maria Arraras, radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt and CNN political correspondent Dana Bash.
Kirby Goidel, a fellow at the Public Policy Research Institute and communication professor, said he expects the questions that are asked of candidates to be more candidate-specific as opposed to focusing on issues.
“Since we are closer into the campaign period, we will be focused on less issue questions and more questions oriented towards strategic considerations and how are campaigns going to focus on winning at this point,” Goidel said.
Amol Shalia, chairman of Texas Aggie Democrats, said after winning New Hampshire, South Carolina and now Nevada, the clear frontrunner for the Republican Party is Trump. The debate is crucial for some lower polling candidates, and if they are unable to perform Thursday night going into “Super Tuesday,” they will not be able to recover, Shalia said.
“For some of these candidates it will be do or die,” Shalia said. “If they don’t make an impact now to make an impact for ‘Super Tuesday,” then their campaigns are done.”
With Jeb Bush dropping out of the race, Donald Trump may have lost his favorite punching bag, Shalia said.
“Trump will have to set his sights on someone else, and I think that person is Ted Cruz,” Shalia said. “I am expecting fireworks between Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio at the debate.”
Goidel said with Bush out of the race, trailing candidates may not take the fight to Trump, even though it’s their best plan of action. He said they may get distracted and go after each other, as they have done previously.
“I think there is still a perception the party won’t let Trump have the nomination somehow, but if he gets over 50 percent of the delegates, there is nothing the party can do,” Goidel said.
At this point in the GOP race, a trailing candidate needs to obtain the funding left by Bush’s vacancy to turn his campaign around, said Goidel. The debate will help to show which candidate will be able to obtain those funds.
“Money is still out there and is looking for who it should support,” Goidel said. “It looks like it will probably go to Rubio, but whoever can do well at the debate potentially attracts the Bush funding — which will be a big deal moving forward.”

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