Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has been a subject of interest and curiosity in the Republican campaign for president, particularly on the debate stage. He will debate again in the fourth GOP presidential debate on December 6 at the University of Alabama.

Ramaswamy is showing up in Alabama a day early. The 38-year-old has agreed to highlight a fundraiser for the Alabama Republican Party. It will be on December 5, at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Hotel from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  – the eve before the debate. The venue is at 4000 Grand Avenue in Hoover.

Proceeds go to the Republican party and not to Ramaswamy.

Tickets are $100. Levels of sponsorships are available here.

The ALGOP hosted two earlier party fundraisers featuring candidates former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The proceeds from the sold-out events went to the Alabama GOP, which is enjoying a successful fundraising year.

In the December 6 debate in Tuscaloosa, Ramaswamy will face off against DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Ramaswamy has not had a breakthrough moment in the presidential campaign. He is currently fourth in averages of national polls of Republican voters at 5.4%. He trails Trump at 58.7%, DeSantis at 13% and Haley at 9.9%. He leads Christie at 3.2%. Others are at or below 1%.   

The December 6 Alabama debate looks unlikely for a breakthrough moment. The candidate who is far out front, Trump, is not coming. He has not debated in any of the previous three debates, and it has not hurt him in national polls. Trump’s poll standings have gone up during the period of the debates.

The candidates onstage in Alabama on December 6 are in a contest for second place, making this sort of like a beauty pageant to select the first runner-up.

The question becomes, can Ramaswamy pass DeSantis and Haley as the challenger to Trump?

Ramaswamy, from Ohio, is estimated to be a billionaire, having made his fortune in pharmaceutical patents. He was born and raised in Cincinnati to East Indian parents. He earned a BA in biology from Harvard and a law degree from Yale. As a teenager, he was a tennis star. He is married and has two children. He is described as a “monotheistic Hindu” and a vegetarian.

Jim Zeigler is former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor. You can reach him for comments at [email protected].

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