The second Republican debate Wednesday night is the latest high profile opportunity for struggling candidates to take on the party's current front-runner. Which is to say that the event is an opportunity for every candidate on the stage, except Donald Trump himself, to land solid punches on the real estate mogul and gain traction in the pulls.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who quickened the pulse of the first debate by attacking Trump, is planning on raising the bar. In interviews ahead of the debate, Paul said that he wasn't going to hold back in his war on Trump Wednesday night.
"I think he deserves both barrels," he told the Daily Caller Tuesday afternoon.
"I think I took it a little bit easy on him the first debate, so I think I'll probably try to be a little more aggressive with him," he told Politico Playbook on Tuesday. "[W]hen there is a celebrity in the race... that skews the [polling] results... It's somebody who is sophomoric in their diatribes -- his rhetoric seems to be stuck in junior high."
It's no big surprise that Paul, who began the first debate with a fierce accusation that Trump was hedging his bets by not committing to support the eventual GOP nominee regardless of who he or she is, is planning on continuing that strategy. He's proven time and time again that he's capable of getting feisty in politics -- part of his appeal is his willingness to fight.
But, he's also not the only candidate on that stage that is expected to come out punching. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has picked up his fight with Trump in the first half of this year, with the two men going after one another on Twitter and in campaign events. How to attack Trump and have a hit stick is likely on most, if not all, of the candidates' minds as Trump continues an improbable rise in the polls that has jettisoned him from single digits in averages of national polls when he began his run to his current 30.5 percent nationwide, 10.5 points ahead the second place Ben Carson.
The second Republican debate will be held on Wednesday in the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., at 8 p.m. EST. There will be 11 candidates on the stage including Trump, Paul, Bush and Carson. They are joined by former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.