CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Eight Republican presidential candidates squared off Wednesday night in the first round of debates.

Former President Donald Trump did not participate Wednesday evening. Local political consultant Tony Cignoli told us because of that, it was likely Trump supporters would not be tuning in to hear the other Republican candidates.

He added because of Trump’s absence, this was a time to shine for other candidates, like Tim Scott, Chris Christie and Ron DeSantis, “In polls they are starting to move a bit and those folks who are not hardcore “trumpers” they are looking at those three as a possibility in the event that Trump cannot answer the bell because of all of these indictments.”

Cignoli adds that there is a split going on within the Republican party right now, between Trump supporters and Republicans who want to return to a Ronald Regan era.

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