There were only two Republicans on the presidential debate stage Wednesday, as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis met for the highest-stake faceoff yet just five days before the nominating process formally starts with Iowa’s caucuses.
Haley and DeSantis’ spirited debate came in the shadow of a live town hall held by the man who is dominating the primary contest, Donald Trump. The former president, of course, has stayed away from all five debates, holding a rival town hall Wednesday on Fox News. The one Republican candidate whose entire campaign has been based around stopping Trump, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, suspended his campaign just hours before the debate.
Christie wasn’t scheduled to be on the stage anyway as the field was whittled down to the only two candidates who are battling for a very distant second to Trump.
Here are takeaways from the event.