Republican debate: What are the presidential candidates’ net worths?

The first debate between the contenders to be the Republican Party’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 Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum should have a much more straightforward time of it, with the likes of Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Mike Pence 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 criticise 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 Will Hurd, Perry Johnson, Francis Suarez and Larry Elder 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 $1.1bn, 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 $19m but the consensus settling closer to $5m.

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.

Ron DeSantis

Once an ally of Mr Trump’s, the two men are now bitter enemies.

Ron DeSantis

The least wealthy name on the list is that of Florida’s controversial governor, who had initially promised to pose a serious challenge to Mr Trump but who has subsequently failed to pick up the support needed and repeatedly looked uncomfortable meeting members of the public at campaign events, cutting a socially awkward and insincere figure.

Mr DeSantis’s net worth was revealed by a state disclosure filed for 2022 that valued him at $1.17m and reported that his $1,174,331.07 salary as the Sunshine State’s governor had been significantly supplemented by the receipt of a $1.25m advance from the publisher HarperCollins for the writing of his second book, The Courage To Be Free.

Chris Christie

Nikki Haley

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