MANCHESTER, N.H. (WWLP) – The Republican candidates for president have met face-to-face several times before, but Saturday night’s prime-time debate could be the most important showdown so far. It comes just two days before New Hampshire residents start voting in the state’s first-in-the-nation primary. While the Iowa Caucuses may be the first contest in the voting year, Tuesday’s primary gives voters all day to go in and make their selections, and is likely to bring in more participation.
What’s different about tonight’s debate?:
Fewer candidates, for one. Since Iowa, three GOP contenders- Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul- have dropped out of the race. That is not to mention the candidates who gave up before Iowa, such as Bobby Jindal and George Pataki. With fewer candidates in contention, there won’t be an “undercard” debate tonight like what we have seen in previous Republican showdowns. There will just be seven candidates on the stage tonight.
The candidates invited to participate are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ben Carson, and Chris Christie.
Who’s not here?:
Carly Fiorina and Jim Gilmore were not invited to participate in the debate, due to low poll numbers. They had participated in the last “undercard” debate before Iowa, along with Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum- who, as previously noted, have dropped out. In order to be invited, candidates had to be among the top three finishers in Iowa and/or have been polling in the top six in New Hampshire and national polls.
Where tonight’s debate being held:
It is being held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire- which was the site of a primetime Democratic candidates debate held in December. Saint Anselm is home of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, and has a long history of hosting presidential debates, and other major events.
Who’s putting on tonight’s debate?:
The debate is being put together by the Republican National Committee, ABC, the Independent Journal Review, and WMUR-TV in Manchester. Google has also partnered with the Republican National Committee for Saturday’s debate.
Who’s hosting the debate?:
ABC News anchor David Muir and reporter Martha Raddatz
When does the debate air?:
The debate airs at 8:00 P.M. eastern.