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5 GOP presidential candidates commit to Iowa forum next month

Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy will have yet another chance to take public shots at each other on stage next month. But this one will be in Iowa and won’t feature any media moderators.

Five Republicans running for the GOP presidential nomination will gather in the early nominee-deciding state for a candidate conversation hosted by the affable Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and his family, just three days after the fourth presidential debate is held in Alabama on Dec. 6. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Texas pastor Ryan Binkley are also expected to attend. Tim Scott, who was slated to attend, is now expected to miss the event in light of his campaign suspension Sunday night.

But there will be another familiar name missing: former President Donald Trump. The Republican frontrunner, who continues to maintain a double-digit lead in the polls in Iowa, has skipped the past three GOP presidential debates and is also expected to miss the fourth.

The event, titled “Faith and Family with the Feenstras,” is slated to take place on Dec. 9 in Sioux Center, according to a release first shared with POLITICO.

“In Iowa, Faith and family form the core of our communities and represent our most important values. … We need a president who understands our values and will advance policies that support our families, defend our Faith, and restore American prosperity,” Feenstra said in a statement. “I’m excited to welcome [five] presidential candidates to Sioux County to share their message with Iowans and offer their vision for a stronger America.”

Like other Republicans elected to the state, famous for its first-in-the-nation caucus status, Feenstra has been actively meeting and shepherding presidential contenders throughout his district ahead of the caucuses. Feenstra hails from the most conservative district in the Hawkeye state, making it especially popular among presidential hopefuls.

Unlike Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, who endorsed DeSantis earlier this month following Trump’s public attacks against her, Feenstra has vowed to stay neutral.

“I’m just going to be the ambassador to everybody,” he’s said.

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