Believe it or not, tonight is the 12th Republican presidential primary debate! Broadcasted from the University of Miami in Miami, Florida, the debate will air at 8:30 PM EST on CNN in partnership with The Washington Times and Salem Media Group.
Since the last GOP debate on March 3, the field has narrowed slightly. Dr. Ben Carson officially ended his campaign in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on March 5, leaving Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Donald Trump.
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Florida is among the top three states nationwide for veteran population size, with 1.6 million residents of the state identifying as veterans. Since veterans make up 10 percent of Florida’s voters, Republican candidates would be wise to discuss veterans issues in tonight’s debate. Unfortunately, veterans were overlooked in last night’s Democratic debate.
The Obama Administration recently moved to adopt IAVA’s recommendation to elevate the suicide prevention office. We look forward to hearing what plans the candidates have for this top priority of IAVA which is highlighted in addition to other issues and info on the candidates here. Will they they also join fellow Republican and Florida Congressman Jeff Miller in pledging to keep Secretary Bob McDonald in place to provide stability at the VA if they win?
This debate comes four days before decisive primaries in Florida and Ohio on March 15. Donald Trump remains the frontrunner after big wins on last week’s ‘Super Tuesday’ and wins in three of four primaries this past Tuesday. Ted Cruz, whose website still lacks a substantive veterans section, has performed in a way that has kept him solidly in second place. Recognition of that fact came with an endorsement from former candidate Carly Fiorina on Wednesday. Ohio Governor Kasich and Florida Senator Marco Rubio are both hoping for a win in their home states to stay in the hunt, but recent polls show Donald Trump well ahead.
While the stakes are high tonight, many are hoping for a more civilized debate this time around, after last week’s was widely criticized for its raucous tone.