The debate saw Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley engage in a series of fiery exchanges, leading to divided opinions on the victor.
Journalist Cassandra MacDonald declared, "Vivek won the debate and it wasn't even close." In contrast, talk radio host Dom Giordano asserted that the debate was "clearly won" by DeSantis. Radio host Dana Loesch concurred with Giordano, stating, "DeSantis has won two debates two weeks in a row now. His biggest asset is his record." Loesch was referring to the previous debate between DeSantis and Democrat California Governor Gavin Newsom, moderated by Fox News' Sean Hannity.
Columnist David Marcus, however, named Christie as the winner. Newsbusters managing editor Curtis Houck lauded DeSantis, highlighting a particular exchange between DeSantis and Haley on the issue of China. Houck wrote, "[DeSantis] wasn't rattled and clearly won this exchange. To argue he's not tough on China when he's been saying for years the Chinese Communist Party is America's biggest threat is ludicrous. Also, anytime you brag about having Wall Street donors is MAJOR cringe."
Interestingly, some commentators declared the winner to be a candidate who did not even participate in the debate: Former President Donald Trump. Alex Bruesewitz, CEO of X Strategies, opined that Trump won, followed by Ramaswamy in second place, and DeSantis and Haley in a tie for third. Former Republican presidential candidate Larry Elder posted a flattering sketch of Trump, posing the question, "The winner?"
"Trump won this debate," simply stated Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Fla. Fox News contributor Leo Terrell echoed this sentiment, exclaiming, "President Trump won the debate!"
The political landscape will continue to evolve as the Iowa Republican Caucuses approach on January 15, 2024, followed by the New Hampshire primary on January 23.