By Katelyn Caralle, U.S. political reporter in Simi Valley, California
Published: 11:00 p.m., September 27, 2023 | Updated: 11:19 p.m., September 27, 2023
What happened in the first Republican presidential debate: Vivek Ramaswamy dominated – and Ron DeSantis avoided attacks
He narrowly defeated Ron DeSantis, who barely dealt with his opponents.
Entrepreneur Ramaswamy put in a combative performance, trading blows with opponents like former Vice President Mike Pence, who appeared intent on belittling him.
It made him the focus of many debates.
What to expect at the second Republican presidential debate
Read ‘s guide to the Republican debate. There are just under three hours left until the seven candidates take the stage at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California.
Donald Trump is skipping the event again and will speak at an auto parts factory in Michigan at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
Trump is still leading the Republican polls. It’s a crucial evening for his rivals as they try to put their stamp on the race for the White House.
Pro-Trump protesters line up outside the GOP’s second debate site in California
On Tuesday evening, protesters began lining up down the hill from the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California, as seven GOP candidates prepared for the second debate.
Demonstrators were protesting the Republican debate in general on Tuesday.
But those who joined on the street down the hill from the library Wednesday morning were pro-Trump protesters — even if Trump is skipping the second debate.
The signs included images of Trump’s facial expression with phrases like “Wanted for President 2024” and “Never Surrender.”
Doug Burgum compares himself to Reagan in the late president’s library before the debate
South Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum resembles the late President Ronald Reagan as he and six other candidates prepare for a debate on a stage at the conservative idol’s presidential library in Simi Valley, California.
“Ronald Reagan’s legacy is a reminder that great things come from small towns and humble beginnings,” said Burgum, who is from a North Dakota town of just 328 residents.
“A reminder that it doesn’t matter where you come from; What matters is your character, your commitment to service and your commitment to overcoming difficult challenges,” the 2024 hopeful wrote.
He added in the three-part Twitter post: “40 years ago, America took a chance on a small-town kid from Tampico, Illinois.” Today I’m asking America to put its trust in me – a small-town kid from Arthur, North Dakota. Let’s saddle up and get to work!’
The candidates prepare for the performance by being active and listening to music
Senator Tim Scott’s preparations before the debate could include hitting the gym or playing a few games of pickleball, his campaign told DailyMal.com.
The South Carolina Republican will also pray and spend time with his family. Scott is known to sometimes take his mother with him on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie prepares for the debate by listening to some uplifting Bruce Springsteen songs.
“Once he’s on stage, the strategy is simple: listen to the questions, answer them directly and call out dishonesty when he sees it,” a campaign spokesperson told .
Democrats attack Trump for skipping second GOP debate over his comments in Michigan
Donald Trump is skipping the second debate after skipping the first to speak to auto workers in Michigan at 8 p.m.
The Democratic Party is taking aim at the former president’s trip with a new ad.
“He says he’s on the side of auto workers, but when President Donald Trump gave tax breaks to his rich friends while automakers closed their factories – and Michigan lost manufacturing jobs,” the ad says.
President Joe Biden visited Michigan on Tuesday to make history as the first president to join the strike line with protesting workers. The trip came just a day before Trump also traveled to the Detroit area to speak with auto workers while negotiating higher wages and shorter workweeks.
“Joe Biden said he would stand up for workers, and he is delivering by passing legislation that raises wages and creates good-paying jobs,” the Democrat’s ad says. “Manufacturing is returning to Michigan because Joe Biden doesn’t just talk, he delivers.”
Deep blue California is the site of the second Republican debate of the 2024 primaries.
Starting at 9:00 p.m. ET, seven candidates will take the stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, for a second chance to boost their poll numbers against front-runner Donald Trump, who is skipping the debate.
On stage are Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy; former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley; South Carolina Senator Tim Scott; former Vice President Mike Pence; former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.