Almost all the Republican presidential candidates will appear in the CBS News Republican debate Saturday, the network announced Friday. The GOP field is down to just six major candidates, and only former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore did not meet the criteria for this weekend’s showdown.
Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurologist Dr. Ben Carson and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will share the stage at the Peace Center in Greenville, South Carolina, Saturday night. Gilmore had previously participated in some undercard debates, but this week’s debate will be the second one with only a prime-time event.
The field has narrowed since the New Hampshire primary election Tuesday, which caused New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to drop out of the 2016 race this week.
In order to participate in this weekend’s debate, candidates had to satisfy one of three pieces of criteria: place among the top five in the New Hampshire primary; place among the top three in the Iowa caucuses; or place among the top five candidates in an average of national and South Carolina polls recognized by CBS News, receiving at least 3 percent in one of those measures.
The debate will take place from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and will air on CBS, as well as the network’s digital streaming service, CBSN. It marks the final debate before the Republicans face off in the South Carolina primary election Feb. 20.
The GOP candidates have been ramping up their attacks against one another in recent days as they hold events in South Carolina, which is often known for its dirty politics. Trump, still the front-runner, caused controversy when he repeated a vulgar word that a member of his audience used to describe Cruz at an event on Tuesday, CNN reported. Since then, Trump has accused Cruz of running push polls, meant to negatively influence respondents’ opinions of a candidate — a claim Cruz’s campaign has denied.
We are getting reports from many voters that the Cruz people are back to doing very sleazy and dishonest "pushpolls" on me. We are watching!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 11, 2016