Republicans to hold their first presidential debate in Wisconsin

(Reuters) – The U.S. Republican Party’s presidential candidates will hold their first debate of the primary season in the battleground state of Wisconsin in August, the party announced on Thursday.

The Republican National Committee’s debates committee voted to hold the debate in Milwaukee, and wants all participating candidates to sign a loyalty pledge vowing to support the eventual White House nominee.

The only two major Republican candidates to announce a presidential run are former President Donald Trump – who has not said if he’ll support the nominee should he lose the nomination battle – and Trump’s former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley.

Televised debates can play a critical role in making and breaking candidacies and shaping the perceptions of White House hopefuls in the minds of voters.

Milwaukee is also where the party will hold its nominating convention in 2024. Wisconsin is one of a handful of presidential swing states that will be crucial to the eventual nominee’s hopes of winning the White House in the November 2024 election.

Other Republicans expected to enter the primary field in coming months include Trump’s former Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.