CNN cancels New Hampshire Republican primary debate

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GOP presidential candidates will not go head-to-head on a debate stage in New Hampshire before the primary next week, now that CNN and ABC News have both canceled their scheduled debates.

A CNN spokesperson said Wednesday that the network is canceling the debate scheduled for Sunday “as only one qualifying candidate accepted our invitation to take the stage.” The change comes a day after ABC News canceled its Thursday debate after former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley said she would step foot on the debate stage again only if Donald Trump or Joe Biden was there.

Trump has skipped every GOP primary debate since the race began, though the former president said last month he would debate one of his Republican primary rivals if the race is “very close” after the New Hampshire primary.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was the only qualifying candidate to accept an invitation to the CNN debate. The DeSantis campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but said Tuesday that Haley “is afraid to debate because she doesn’t want to answer the tough questions” and accused her of running to be Trump’s vice president.

In lieu of a debate, CNN will host a town hall with Haley on Thursday at 9 p.m. EST in New Hampshire. DeSantis attended a town hall with the network earlier in the week.

After placing third in the Iowa caucuses, Haley has contended that the GOP presidential primary is now a “two-person race” between her and Trump.

“That’s who I’m running against. That’s who I want,” Haley said on CNN Tuesday, referring to Trump. “At the end of the day, he’s the frontrunner. He’s the one I’m 7 points away from, he’s the one we’re fighting for. There is no one else I need to debate.”