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Deer District filled with action ahead of first GOP presidential debate

Fiserv Forum is officially decked out in RNC banners and buzzing with media ahead of the first national display for 8 Republican candidates vying to become the next United States President.
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Posted at 9:46 AM, Aug 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-23 10:46:45-04

MILWAUKEE — Fiserv Forum is officially decked out in RNC banners and buzzing with media ahead of the first national display for 8 Republican candidates vying to become the next United States President.

Vivek Ramaswamy addressed supporters in Fiserv Forum's beer garden the night before the big debate.

Reporter Mariam Mackar asked him what will differentiate him from the other candidates on stage Wednesday night.

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“The fact of the matter is that I'm the only outsider in this race. Everybody else is a professional politician and I think that’s one of the choices we face in this race,” said Ramaswamy. “Do you want a super PAC puppet or a patriot who speaks the truth?”

Even though the apparent front runner in Former President Trump won't be on Wednesday’s stage, his supporters traveled to Milwaukee a day early to vouch for his spot in the general election.

“We just love him and we're here to support him even though he's not going to be here,” said Trump supporter, Dan Henning.

It’s a sentiment Trump surrogates were out echoing on Tuesday, like former candidate for Arizona governor, Kari Lake, who came to the Cream City to speak on behalf of Trump and his campaign.

“We already know he can do the job and for him to show up as a Babe Ruth with a bunch of t-ball players, it doesn't make any sense,” Lake told Mackar.

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As debate preps and excitement continued at Fiserv, just a mile away The Coalition to March on RNC was protesting outside the Pfister Hotel where the conservative political group Mom's for Liberty held an event featuring former collegiate athlete, Riley Gains.

Organizers say they plan to demonstrate against the GOP and RNC today during the debate.

Following full coverage of the debate itself, NBC 26 reporters will hear surrogates, candidates and their supporters pitch why they should be back in Milwaukee next summer when the Republican National Convention comes back to town with their final candidate.