Former President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he intends to skip next week’s Republican primary debate in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, marking the fourth time he has declined to attend a party event. Instead, the seemingly untouchable frontrunner will host a private fundraising event in Hallandale Beach, Florida, leaving the remaining candidates to once again fight him from afar.

As was the case during the first three Republican primary debates, former President Trump’s commanding lead in the polls — as high as 50 points by some estimateshas reinforced the idea that he does not need to stoop to debating his distant competitors.

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During the first debate in Wisconsin, Trump released a pre-taped interview with former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. For the second debate in California, Trump’s counterprogramming was a speech to striking autoworkers in Michigan, rallying support from the usually left-leaning union.

Trump’s largest disruption came during the third debate in Miami when he held a massive, star-studded rally just 10 miles away from the debate venue. This event, rather than the debate itself, was arguably the night’s main event even in the eyes of oppositional media.

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However, unlike the previous times Trump opted not to attend, his plans for the night of Wednesday, December 6 will not include a public event to upstage the debate. Instead, the former president’s campaign will host a closed-door “end-of-year reception,” available only to donors and ticketholders.

With Trump once again absent, the stage will remain clear for other candidates to make their case—though how much good it will do them remains to be seen. The Republican Party has increased participation requirements for the next debate, and candidates must now show 6 percent support in two national polls and secure donations from 80,000 donors.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley have already surpassed both thresholds and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is on the verge of qualifying as well. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christe has struggled to meet the polling requirement, leaving it unclear if he will be able to participate.

Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum are also still in the race, despite not qualifying to appear in multiple debates.

The fourth Republican primary debate will be held at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, December 6.

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