First GOP debate: What we learned, explainers, analysis

A photo collage features images of the eight GOP candidates who will appear at the first Republican presidential debate.

The Republican Party held its first presidential debate on Wednesday, August 23, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The GOP primary race is crowded, with 14 declared candidates vying for the chance to challenge President Joe Biden in 2024. As many as 11 of the declared candidates met the standards to participate in Wednesday’s debate, with some using wild gimmicks to qualify, though the Republican National Committee confirmed eight participants: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy, former Vice President Mike Pence, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The party’s frontrunner, former President Donald Trump, opted out in favor of counter-programming: He gave an interview to Tucker Carlson.

The two-hour event was hosted by Fox News, with anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum moderating. It aired from 9 to 11 pm ET. Follow here for the latest news and updates.