CNN announced its criteria for the Dec. 15 Republican debate on Friday, providing candidates with three ways to grace the main stage at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.
Any candidate polling at 3.5 percent nationally, 4 percent in Iowa, or 4 percent New Hampshire between Oct. 29 and Dec. 15 will be able invited to the primetime event, while anyone polling above 1 percent in Iowa, New Hampshire, or nationally will be relegated to the undercard “happy hour” debate.
According to this criteria, nine candidate qualify for the top-dog debate as of Friday: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Chris Christie. Christie was relegated to the undercard for the last debate, which was hosted by Fox Business Network earlier this month.
The undercard debate will likely be comprised of Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, and Rick Santorum.
The event will be moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. He will be joined by CNN Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash and conservative radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
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