The Slatest

The GOP’s New Debate Lineup Looks a Lot Like Its First Two

Republican presidential candidates—15 of them!—stand onstage during the presidential debates at the Reagan Library on September 16, 2015 in Simi Valley, California.

Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

And the stage is set for the third Republican presidential debate, which CNBC will host in Boulder, Colorado, next Wednesday.

Under the rules unveiled by the financial news network late last month, candidates needed to average at least 2.5 percent in a relatively narrow set of polls conducted by major news outlets and released between Sept. 17 and Oct. 21. In theory, that meant the network could have handed out more than the 11 top-tier invites that CNN did for the second debate, or fewer than the 10 Fox News did for the first one in August. The change made life a little nervous for the likes of Rand Paul, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee—though, in the end all three men earned an invite. The only difference between the CNBC primetime lineup and CNN’s will be the absence of Scott Walker, who is no longer in the race.

That leaves the usual suspects to duke it out on the undercard: Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, and Lindsey Graham. Just like last time, Jim Gilmore failed to meet the polling threshold to earn a spot on stage for either debate. Better luck next time, governor!