2 Weeks to Go: 16 GOPers Jockey for 10 Debate Spots

Who's in, who's out, and who's teetering on the edge
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2015 12:21 PM CDT
In this June 30, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves as he arrives at a house party in Bedford, NH.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
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(Newser) – There are just two weeks to go until the first Republican debate on Aug. 6, and the lineup isn't even close to set. Sixteen candidates are vying for 10 podiums on Fox's stage, reserved for those at the top in recent polls. Here's the latest:

  • Who's in: Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz are likely to nab a spot, according to CNN. But it's a close race for the remaining two spots as John Kasich, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, and Carly Fiorina "are within one percentage point of being tied."
  • Who's out: Probably Lindsey Graham and George Pataki, though anyone who doesn't nab a spot with Fox will have a chance to speak at a New Hampshire Union Leader forum three days before the debate. Graham, Fiorina, and Perry all plan to attend.

  • What Trump's inclusion says about the GOP: "He's the Kardashian of the Republican primary," a former aide tells the Hill. But having him stand "beside serious, accomplished, intelligent people" might help his rivals, a strategist adds. "If he's asked about how to counter ISIS, and his answer is, 'I'm going to hit them so hard,' that’s going to look ridiculous next to Rubio or Cruz."
  • Will a gaffe force Trump out? Not necessarily. While missteps sometimes push top contenders out, money is more often the issue. Herman Cain was riding high in 2012 until he suddenly wasn't, but "Cain didn't have $10 billion," a strategist says. Trump's fortune means he can stay "as long as he wants."
  • That other 'loud-mouthed Northeasterner:' Christie's poll numbers have fallen since he entered the race, and a poll this month found Christie had the worst favorability of 17 candidates (Jim Gilmore, who hasn't announced, was included) at -20. "No one with anything close ... has gone on to win either party's nomination," reports FiveThirtyEight.
(Read more Election 2016 stories.)

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