Following a night of heated exchanges at the 2024 GOP Presidential debate, political analysts and consultants are weighing-in on the performance of the eight candidates.
Florida political campaign consultant John Dowless of Millennium Consulting believes the top two performers of the night were former entreprenuer Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikky Haley.
"Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswami were the winners in last night’s debate," Dowless said. "DeSantis held his own. He didn’t hurt himself, but he also didn’t exceed expectations either. He had strong moments, but didn’t have a breakout moment."
Recent momentum put Ramaswamy just behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for third place in most GOP Primary polls. As a result of Donald Trump's abseence, Ramaswamy was placed at one of the two center stage podiums. Despite pundit predictions of a wave of attacks on Gov. DeSantis, he didn't get as much of the spotlight as expected, due to Fox New's debate format, which allowed for 30 second rebuttals each time a candidate was referenced or criticized.
As an alternative to banding together to overthrow DeSantis as the most viable opponent to Trump, some of the contenders settled on attacking Ramaswamy, including former Vice President Mike Pence, Haley, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who likened Ramaswamy's speaking pattern to ChatGPT software.
"Overall, I think Vivek came across as an outsider who could hold his own," Dowless said. "For traditional, party-establishment voters, he probably came across as too stark, putting issues in a black or white category when they may not be that simple."