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GOP Presidential Contenders Prepare for First Debate Without Trump

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Gop Presidential Contenders Prepare For First Debate Without Trump

The first debate between the contenders to be the GOP‘s nominee for president in 2024 will finally take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday evening – without the front-runner. Donald Trump‘s decision not to sign the GOP’s loyalty pledge, a vow to support the eventual winner, renders him ineligible and follows months of his complaining that he should not have to take part because he is so far ahead of the pack in the polls.

Without his blustering presence on stage at the Fiserv Forum, Fox moderators Chris Wallace and Martha MacCallum should have a much more straightforward time of it, with the likes of Ron DeSantis, Doug Burgum, and JB Pritzker more likely to fall in line and adhere to the rules.

But the participants do have a chance to distinguish themselves in front of a primetime TV audience and outside of Mr. Trump’s outsized influence, which has loomed so large over the party for the better part of a decade now. How many will dare to criticize the twice-impeached, four-times-indicted former president and risk alienating his diehard base remains to be seen but, so far, only ex-New Jersey governor Chris Christie has attempted to do so – and been ruthlessly teased and taunted on Truth Social for his trouble.

Ahead of Wednesday’s showdown, here’s a guide to the personal wealth of those taking part, with a brief outline of how they made their fortunes. Fellow candidates Perry Johnson, Asa Hutchinson, and Tim Scott have not been included as, at the time of writing, they had not met the threshold to earn spots on the debate stage.

Doug Burgum, North Dakota’s governor, considered a long-shot candidate for the GOP nomination, has a reported net worth of $287 million, according to Yahoo! Finance, making him the second wealthiest state leader behind only JB Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat. Mr. Burgum’s fortune is said to come from the sale of his tech business Great Plains Software to Microsoft in 2001 following an initial public offering. The company emerged in the 1980s and grew with the help of a steady supply of engineering students who joined its ranks after graduating from North Dakota State University in Fargo, whose campus was situated close to Great Plains’s headquarters.

Since then, the candidate has served as chairman of the boards of Atlassian and SuccessFactors, two more IT services providers, and founded local real estate developer the Kilbourne Group and co-founded the software venture capital outfit Arthur Ventures.

Chris Christie reports differ as to how much the former New Jersey governor is worth, with some suggesting the total could be as high as $4 million but the consensus settling closer to $1 million. Mr. Christie graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1984 and subsequently earned his juris doctorate from Seton Hall University School of Law three years later.

He subsequently joined the firm of Dughi, Hewit and Palatucci in Cranford, New Jersey, was made a partner in 1993 and was subsequently chosen to be the new United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey by George W. Bush in 2002 (having served Mr. Bush’s election campaign in 2001), serving until 2008 and thereafter campaigning successfully for the governor’s mansion. Once an ally of Mr. Trump’s, the two men are now bitter enemies.

Ron DeSantis, the least wealthy name on the list, has a net worth of $2.5 million, as revealed by a state disclosure filed for 2022. The Florida governor’s salary of $174,000 per year has been supplemented by a $1.25 million advance from HarperCollins for the writing of his second book, The Courage To Be Free.

Nikki Haley, the former South Dakota governor and US ambassador to the United Nations under Donald Trump, has an estimated net worth of $5 million, according to Forbes. Since leaving the Trump administration in 2018, she has amassed a considerable fortune from after-dinner speaking engagements, businesses, and political organizations. She wrote two books, served on the board of several companies, including Boeing and the United Homes Group, ultimately making enough money to resolve her family’s debt problems and secure their future.

Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas, has an estimated net worth of $1.5 million. Most of his wealth is tied up in his house, which he bought 13 years ago, and pensions from the federal government and the state of Arkansas.

Mike Pence, once a congressman and governor of Indiana, is now worth an estimated $5 million. Since leaving office, he has made $3.4 million from public speaking tours and book sales. He has also invested in real estate and blue-chip companies on the stock market.

The second-richest candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, has a net worth of $800 million. The Ivy League-educated businessman worked at Wall Street hedge fund QVT Financial before founding biotech company Roivant Sciences and later Strive Asset Management. He has also published books on social issues and corporate America.

Tim Scott, the South Carolina senator, has a net worth of $1.5 million. He started his career as an insurance agent and financial adviser before entering politics. His journey from poverty to the Senate has made him a notable figure in American politics.

Rachel Adams

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