The 11 Republican presidential candidates selected for the "top-tier" GOP debate Sept. 16 will include former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, CNN announced Thursday evening. After the first GOP debates Aug. 6 in Cleveland, televised by Fox News Channel, CNN changed the criteria for those participating, based on their latest polling numbers.
Besides Fiorina, the other 10 candidates selected for next week's top-tier debate include businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
The five candidates who will appear in next week's earlier debate include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
There have been reports that candidates are expected to be more assertive this time around, as billionaire candidate Trump continues to dominate the race.
“A panic has set in on a number of campaigns. I’m expecting this next debate could more resemble roller derby than a debate,” said John Weaver, an adviser to the Kasich campaign, the Washington Post reported.
CNN amended the criteria for the second round of Republican debates earlier this month. The criteria had to be reworked because of a low number of national public poll offerings since the Cleveland debates.
"In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7th and September 10th, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16th and September 10th," CNN said in a statement.
The start time of the top-tier debate Sept. 16 has been changed from 9 p.m. EDT to 8 p.m., Politico reported. Shifting the debate's start will reduce the gap between the main event and the earlier forum, which is scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. EDT.
The second GOP debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan presidential library in Simi Valley, California. It is scheduled to be moderated by CNN anchor Jake Tapper, with CNN political correspondent Dana Bush and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asking additional questions.