WASHINGTON – The next presidential election is less than a year away. Some Republican presidential candidates will face off Wednesday evening in Miami in the third primary debate of the 2024 election cycle.

The group debating Wednesday does not include former U.S. President Donald Trump, who formally announced last year he would run for office again in 2024.

Some elected officials, including Missouri U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, believe Trump is the frontrunner to become the GOP presidential nominee.

“Donald Trump is going to be the nominee; I’ve been saying this for a long time,” said Hawley during a virtual chat with FOX 2 on Wednesday. “I’m not sure these debates are particularly productive. I think at this point, we would do well to rally behind Trump as the nominee. I think he is going to be the nominee. I’ve said that over and over, and I think voters have made up their minds.”

The comments come following some big Democratic victories in Tuesday’s municipal elections across the states, particularly for Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia. When asked about these races, Hawley told FOX 2 that he “did not carefully track” any elections outside of Missouri.

Looking ahead to next year’s elections, Hawley also offered this insight on Donald Trump.

“I have said consistently, I think he is going to be the nominee, and I think he is going to beat Joe Biden. I think it’s going to be Biden versus Trump. And I will tell you, I have no hesitation; I will pull the lever for Trump, 100 percent.”

The 2024 presidential election is set for Nov. 5, 2024. Democrat incumbent Joe Biden will run for a second term. Republican candidates pushing for nomination include Trump, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, and several others. For a full list of candidates, click here.

For a look at local election results from Tuesday’s municipal elections, click here.