Tonight’s Republican debate

Tonight’s Republican debate December 15, 2015

It’s an interesting point in the Republican presidential race, as Ted Cruz passes Donald Trump in the Iowa polls.  (The Iowa caucus, which kicks off the primary season, in which delegates are actually chosen for the convention will be February 1.  There will be one more debate before then, on January 15.)  Tonight’s matchup will be on CNN.

As is our custom, meet here at 8:30 Eastern Time, to comment on the debate as it unfolds.

From Everything you need to know about Tuesday’s GOP debate – POLITICO:

When is the next Republican presidential debate?

The fifth Republican presidential debate will be Tuesday, Dec. 15th, live from The Venetian in Las Vegas. It will be hosted by CNN and Salem Radio.

What time and how long is the debate?

The first of the night’s debates – the undercard forum – starts at 6 PM EST, which means the prime time session doesn’t begin until 8:30 EST. A CNN spokesperson says details on formatting are to come, though one network announcement notes that the web stream of the debate lasts until 11 PM EST.

How can I watch the debate?

The debate will air on CNN and stream for free at, which earned the network an additional four million viewers during their Sept. 16 debate. No cable subscription is necessary to stream. CNN also will allow access to the debate on mobile devices. Radio listeners can tune into any Salem Network broadcast across the country.

Who will participate in the debate?

The prime time debate includes Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, and John Kasich. The undercard features Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki.

The qualifications for this debate are a twist on recent standards: it’s the first 2016 debate that features polling from the early voting states. Candidates with an average of at least 4 percent in selected polling from either Iowa or New Hampshire earned a spot in Las Vegas. Candidates with an average of at least 3.5 percent in national polling between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13 also made the stage.

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