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Who won the first GOP primary debate? Here's what conservatives are saying
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Who won the first GOP primary debate? Here's what conservatives are saying

The first Republican primary campaign debate concluded Wednesday evening, and since then, countless voices have weighed in on who won and who lost the first battle of the 2024 election.

Here's what conservatives said across the right side of the political spectrum.

Glenn Beck, the founder of Blaze Media, said the debate had two winners, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and concluded that the primary race was now between those two candidates and front-runner former President Donald Trump.

Ben Shapiro of the Daily Wire offered an assessment that had former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley winning in overall debate performance, with Ramaswamy coming in second.

"The only candidate who really helped herself was Haley, who may have begun consolidating support from both Pence and Scott (what there is of it)," said Shapiro on social media.

Mark Levin, the BlazeTV host of "LevinTV," was very dismissive of Pence's performance.

"My view last night and this morning is that Mike Pence was more Chris Christie than Chris Christie. That is, he was loud, overbearing, constantly going over his time limit and interrupting others, and egocentric. I thought he was easily the worst on the stage," wrote Levin on social media.

"And his constant reference to 'Trump-Pence' successes, while trashing Trump, was precious. He was vice president, whose job is to stand behind the president and smile a lot, which he did very well. As for the demand that everyone bow to his conduct on January 6 was pretty pathetic," he added.

Levin had positive notes for Ramaswamy.

"Vivek was very entertaining and highly skilled at dropping a few bombs here and there and making promises he will not be able to keep -- and several contradictory points he made, including about climate change (months ago he said it exists and man contributes to it, last night he dismissed it altogether, etc.)," Levin wrote.

He went on to deride Chris Christie for even appearing on the stage.

"I don't see any lane for him, I don't see any reason for him," said Levin.

Levin noted that Nikki Haley did well but that she didn't talk about her eight-year record as governor of South Carolina.

Others, like Matt Walsh, said the debate didn't matter at all.

"The debate basically doesn’t matter at all and nobody will remember a single thing that happened by tomorrow. That’s my debate analysis," he wrote on social media.

Larry Elder, the California talk show host and candidate who was denied space at the debate, said simply that Trump won the debate by refusing to appear. Actor Kevin Sorbo agreed with that assessment.

Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News anchor, lambasted the debate as boring and criticized the inclusion of long-shot candidates.

“With no clear winner, the winner was Trump. Nothing happened to change the dynamic of this race tonight,” she concluded.

Candace Owens called it a victory for Ramaswamy only because he spoke out against U.S. funding of the Ukrainian War.

A panel on Fox News said Ramaswamy won, with comments describing him as "exciting" and "genuine."

Talk radio host Erick Erickson told Fox News that DeSantis won by staying out of the fights during the debate.

"I think DeSantis did, because no one took him out, he stayed above the fray, he answered questions, kinda led the stage to a degree there from the center, refusing at one point to raise his hand on climate change," said Erickson.

"Let’s be clear," said attorney and commentator Kurt Schlichter. "DeSantis was alone in one debate, and everybody else was in another, more annoying one. Calm, confident and capable. DeSantis won."

Talk radio host Dana Loesch also called the debate a victory for DeSantis.

"He didn’t damage himself and looks to have attracted some independents without compromising his positions," wrote Loesch.

One poll of debate watchers found that a plurality said DeSantis won the debate, with Ramaswamy in close second and Haley making gains into third place. Trump meanwhile garnered millions of views by ignoring the debate and sitting down for an interview with Tucker Carlson.

Here's more about the first GOP primary debate:

Mark's Opening Remarks - 8/24/23www.youtube.com

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Carlos Garcia

Carlos Garcia

Staff Writer

Carlos Garcia is a staff writer for Blaze News.