January 14, 2016

What You Need to Know About Tonight’s GOP Debate

Weeks until the first caucus and primary, candidates are ready to rumble.

For the Republican candidates, the stakes of tonight’s debate are mounting faster than a Powerball jackpot. It’s the second-to-last scheduled debate before the Iowa caucuses Feb. 1 and the third debate before the New Hampshire primary Feb. 9. As with previous debates, expect the sparks to fly. For the likes of Jeb Bush and John Kasich, who have been unremarkable in debates past, it’s now or never to make some waves, to land punches against other candidates in hopes of rising in the polls.

Seven candidates will take the stage: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Bush and Kasich. Duking it out at the Happy Hour debate will be Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Rand Paul — except Paul declined the invite. He issued a statement saying he should have been up on the big stage and he’ll not attend tonight’s undercard debate. Instead, he’ll “double down on his efforts to talk straight to the voters.”

According to the polling data for Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Trump could win all three. Cruz and the billionaire are running neck in neck in the Hawkeye State, but Trump is cruising with a 17 point lead in New Hampshire and an 11 point lead in South Carolina, which has its primary on Feb. 20. In Iowa, though, Trump has been feeling the pressure from Cruz, who has become the favorite of value-voting Republicans, so he has finally begun throwing punches at the senator.

Fox Business moderators Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo might not let weak rhetoric fly. Red State expects that the moderators will highlight the differences between the candidates, focusing on the issues, because Fox News knows its conservative audience. As for the candidates, some of them should be asking if it’s time to politely excuse themselves from the race. There can be only one winner, and that person must be able to unite and excite the broad field of conservatism.

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