Here Are the 10 Republican Presidential Candidates Who Will Compete in the First GOP Debate

Fox News releases list of candidates who qualify for Thursday's prime time primary showdown.


On Thursday night, Fox News will host the first GOP primary debate, featuring 10 of the 17 candidates running for the Republican party's presidential nomination. The remaining candidates will compete in a second-tier debate at 5 p.m.

Fox News announced earlier this summer that the 10 candidates allowed into the main event would be the top 10 as judged by an average most recent high-quality national polls, meaning that Internet-based polls and state-based surveys won't count. What this has meant is that up until today, it's not been entirely clear which candidates would make the cut for the 9 p.m. face off.

But now the final set of polls are in, and Fox has made the names and placement on the stage official.

Here's the full list:

  1. Donald Trump
  2. Jeb Bush
  3. Scott Walker
  4. Mike Huckabee
  5. Ben Carson
  6. Ted Cruz
  7. Marco Rubio
  8. Rand Paul
  9. Chris Christie
  10. John Kasich

The candidates will be arranged on stage according to their rank in the polls, with Trump, Bush, Walker, and Huckabee at the center. Here's more or less how it will look: 

Via ComfortablySmug Twitter/Fox News Channel

(Graphic via Comfortably Smug's Twitter feed/Fox News.)

This list is about what's been expected for the last week or so, with Ohio Gov. John Kasich the only candidate who was really in any doubt (and for the last few days, Kasich's place has been pretty secure).

Kasich, who has a bit of momentum, edged out Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the final slot, which is a bit of a disappointment since Perry, who stumbled memorably in one 2012 debate, has been running a genuinely interesting campaign, delivering worthwhile speeches on financial reform and race and economic opportunity. He's also been the most aggressive anti-Trump voice in the Republican field, even challenging the billionaire mogul to a, um, pull-up contest. Which, sure, might not make America great again, but would at least do wonders for my Thursday night viewing. 

Sadly, we won't get to see Trump and Perry face off this Thursday—although there are still plenty more debates to come between now and March 2016—so we'll just have to content ourselves with seeing how everyone else reacts to Trump's presence.