Fox News to Host Town Halls With Haley, DeSantis in Iowa

Fox News to Host Town Halls With Haley, DeSantis in Iowa


Fox News announced on Jan. 3 that it will host town halls with GOP presidential candidates Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis in Iowa on Jan. 8 and Jan. 9, respectively, one week before the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will co-host the town halls in Des Moines, Iowa. Both town halls will air at 6 p.m. Eastern time and include a live audience. The 6 p.m. time slot is usually when “Special Report with Bret Baier” airs on the highest-rated cable news network in the country.

The town halls will focus on women’s issues, as abortion has been a major topic in elections since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022.

Mr. Baier and Ms. MacCallum moderated the first town hall of the GOP primary last August that included Ms. Haley and Mr. DeSantis. It was the most viewed debate so far this election cycle and the most viewed nonsports program in 2023.

Mr. Baier and Ms. MacCallum have interviewed Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley multiple times.

The day after the town halls, Ms. Haley and Mr. DeSantis will debate each other on CNN, also in Des Moines. That debate will be held at Drake University and moderated by CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash.

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Former President Donald Trump, who is dominating in the GOP primary polls, qualified for the debate, but will skip it and instead participate in a Fox News town hall hosted by Mr. Baier at the same time as the CNN event.

To qualify for the CNN debate, candidates needed to, among numerous criteria, be at 10 percent in three separate Iowa polls or national polls of GOP voters.

New Fundraising Numbers

The Fox News announcement comes as Ms. Haley’s campaign announced it raised $24 million between October and December.

The former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations got 83,900 new donors in the fourth quarter—close to the number of fresh donors the campaign brought in between July and September, according to the campaign.

Ms. Haley’s campaign raised $16.25 million through mail and digital grassroots initiatives, it said.

She has $14.5 million cash on hand, according to the campaign.

Ms. Haley has launched a campaign blitz over the past couple of months with ads ahead of the Jan. 15 Iowa caucuses and the Jan. 23 New Hampshire primary.

Since she started her campaign in February, Ms. Haley has garnered $50 million from 180,000 donors through her fundraising arms: Nikki Haley for President Inc., SFA Fund Inc., and Stand for America PAC.

“This is a two-person race between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump,” said Haley campaign manager Betsy Ankney in a statement.

“Nikki is the only Trump alternative with the voter support, the operation, and the resources to go the distance,” she continued. “Our momentum continues to build as we head into 2024.”

Polls show Ms. Haley in second in New Hampshire and a close third in Iowa behind Mr. DeSantis and President Trump.

Mr. DeSantis criticized Ms. Haley’s fundraising numbers as a result of big-money contributions, not grassroots donations.

“I think it’s pretty clear. I mean, you know, she has been able to get massive funding from liberal Democrats even in places like California, liberal Wall Street executives,” he told reporters on Jan. 3.

“They’ve been raising huge money for her there. They’re not doing that because they think she’s going to be a change agent,” continued Mr. DeSantis. ”They’re doing that because they know that she’s somebody that they would be able to control. And so my view is to do what’s right. Don’t try to chase what donors are wanting to do.”

Ms. Haley has earned praise from wealthy individuals, including JP Morgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, and endorsements from such people including Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone.

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