The SECOND Republican debate gets underway: Seven candidates take the stage for the second presidential debate – with Ron DeSantis needing a star performance

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The SECOND Republican debate gets underway: Seven candidates take the stage for the second presidential debate – with Ron DeSantis needing a star performance

Candidates are hoping for a show-stopping performance at the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday as many still view the event as a race

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Candidates are hoping for a show-stopping performance at the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday as many still view the event as a race for second place.

Political strategists tell DailyMail.com that Ron DeSantis needs to make sure he’s a star on the debate stage at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

Others say that Vivek Ramaswamy needs another break-out moment following a star performance at the first debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin last month.

Seven candidates qualified for the debate stage – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis; biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy ; former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley ; South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott ; former Vice President Mike Pence ; former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Seven GOP contenders took stage at the second Republican primary debate on Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California

Seven GOP contenders took stage at the second Republican primary debate on Wednesday evening at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California

Taking center stage is Ron DeSantis with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy to either side of the Florida Governor

Taking center stage is Ron DeSantis with former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy to either side of the Florida Governor

But with all candidates still polling so far behind Trump, many still view the debate as part of the race for second place.

Meanwhile, Trump skipped the event for remarks to auto industry union workers in a Detroit, Michigan suburb Wednesday evening – notably kicking off an hour ahead of the GOP debate.

Democrats trolled the event with a plane circling the library trailing a banner reading: ‘GOP 2024: A Race for the Extreme MAGA Base.’ 

Trump set a precedent last month by skipping out on the first primary debate with eight contenders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

He instead sat-down for a wide-ranging interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, which again sought to upstage the debate by airing just five-minutes before the debate kicked-off.

Trump has suggested he could bypass all of the primary debates, noting that the events are beneath him since no candidate can touch his polling levels.

On Monday, during a campaign stop in Summerville, South Carolina, the ex-President called the Republican primary debates ‘stupid.’

‘Basically, it’s a job interview. You look at the debates, it’s a job interview, and so far, I’m not too interested,’ he said at a campaign field office .

President of the Reagan Foundation & Institute David Trulio expressed to DailyMail.com his disappointment that Trump is not participating in the debate.

‘We would love for any candidate who meets the RNC qualifications to be here and that, of course, includes President Trump,’ Trulio said. ‘He has chosen not to sign the pledge as I understand it, which therefore precludes his ability to come on stage, but he met the other requirements that the RNC set.’

Situated on stage from middle to ends based on polling, DeSantis took center-stage, flanked by Ramaswamy and Haley. The next layer out was Scott and Christie while Pence and Burgum rounded out the stage at either ends of the line of podiums. 

Democrats trolled the debate with a plane circling the library trailing a banner reading: 'GOP 2024: A Race for the Extreme MAGA Base'

Democrats trolled the debate with a plane circling the library trailing a banner reading: ‘GOP 2024: A Race for the Extreme MAGA Base’

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