The second Republican presidential debate kicks off Sept. 27 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.
The two-hour event will be aired from 9 to 11 p.m. on both Fox Business Network and Univision. It will be moderated by Fox News' Dana Perino and Stuart Varney as well as Univision's Ilia Calderon.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and former Vice President Mike Pence will take part.
Everyone from debate No. 1 qualified for debate No. 2 except former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
Meanwhile, the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald J. Trump, will once again be missing.
Former President Trump is expected to deliver remarks during prime time.
"He really has the ability to resonate with these workers. Although he is a billionaire, he is able to symbolize a middle finger to the establishment," said Republican strategist Libby Krieger in a Sept. 26 interview on NTD.
"If you're going to skip it, you definitely want to do something else. And being in Michigan, a swing state that he won in 2016, is definitely better counter-programming than when he had to surrender in Atlanta after the Milwaukee debate," said University of Michigan debate director Aaron Kall in a Sept. 26 interview on NTD.
Trump, Trump, and More TrumpA transcript of the first debate shows the word "Trump" was spoken more than 25 times.
President Trump will likely remain a significant focus of the conversation on Sept. 27. As he faces multiple indictments while campaigning for his previous office, the real estate developer turned politician is still the main character in American politics and certainly in the Republican Party.
"He has a huge lead. As the debates have gone on, his lead has only increased. While there were some standout performances in Milwaukee, nobody really made a dent in that," Mr. Kall said.
"They can't just attack each other and hope to do well. They really have to take the fight to Donald Trump," he added.
"There's definitely a split in the Republican Party—those who want to move into the populist direction and those who want to stay with the 2000s or even earlier type of Republicanism, like Nikki Haley or Mike Pence.
"That's going to be something for Republican primary voters to decide at the ballots," Ms. Krieger said.
More Foreign Policy ClashesDuring the first debate, some of the biggest arguments erupted over foreign policy.
That's unsurprising. In a party reshaped by President Trump and, before him, the likes of Ron Paul and Pat Buchanan, hawkishness has given ground to what some call non-interventionism and what others call isolationism.
Mr. Pence described Mr. Ramaswamy's vision of ceding parts of Ukraine to Russia to sever it from Beijing as a "giveaway ... to Putin."
Ms. Haley, who served as the United States ambassador to the United Nations during the Trump administration, argued with Mr. Ramaswamy over Russia, China, Taiwan, and Israel.
The 'Laptop from Hell'Special counsel David Weiss's investigation of Hunter Biden, President Biden's son, didn't come up as part of the moderators' questions in Milwaukee.
Mr. Christie and Mr. DeSantis did mention his legal issues at the first debate.
Although Hunter Biden has been under investigation for years, no charges were filed until whistleblowers with the IRS testified that multiple U.S. attorneys declined to let Mr. Weiss bring charges.
Now, an FBI agent has come forward and confirmed their accounts during a closed-door interview with members of Congress.
"I remember learning at some point in the investigation that Mr. Weiss would have to go through his other processes because the U.S. Attorney's Offices had, I guess, in that sense, using that terminology, wasn't going to partner," the agent said, as recorded in a transcript The Epoch Times has obtained and reviewed.
Rising Haley Attracting AttentionA June RNC release on the debates states: "Qualified candidates will be placed on stage according to polling, with the highest polling candidate in the center."
Mr. DeSantis will stand in the middle of the pack at the Reagan Library, flanked by Mr. Ramaswamy and Ms. Haley. Mr. Christie and Mr. Scott will be the next layer, and Mr. Pence and Mr. Burgum will make up the outer fringe.
Ms. Haley's rise could place her in a similar position, though perhaps not from rivals who sympathize with her neoconservatism.
California and Gov. NewsomThe state of the State of California may also become a talking point.
Its Democrat-led policies on energy, the environment, and many social issues have often made it a target for criticism for Republicans.
The debate itself is taking place in California's Simi Valley, a former GOP stronghold that went for President Biden in 2020.
Rumors that California Gov. Gavin Newsom may jump in the race could make the Golden State all the more relevant.
Mr. DeSantis is now slated to debate Mr. Newsom in November.
Other Topics to WatchThe ongoing UAW strike may also make it into the conversation, especially with President Biden and former President Trump visiting the strikers.
"The Democrats used to have a stronghold with these union blue-collar workers … However, we saw this shift a little bit with Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020," Ms. Krieger said.
In addition, while moderators Brett Baier and Martha MacCallum did not talk about COVID-19 vaccines and masking during the first debate, they could be fodder on Sept. 27.
"The head of the Reagan Library is not a fan of Trump," Mr. Kall said.