The GOP debate Thursday night will take place at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on CNN.
With Donald Trump leading the polls and the delegate count, and several candidates dropping out or on the brink of doing so, Texas and the other Super Tuesday contests are a pivotal moment in the Republican race, and the Lone Star State is the site of the debate.
While only Trump and Ted Cruz have primary wins, John Kasich and Marco Rubio have had strong finishes in one or more states, leaving them with at least a narrow path to the nomination. For Ben Carson, meanwhile, his struggling campaign has one more chance to convince primary voters before he’s out of comeback range.
Here’s what you need to know:
DATE: February 25, 2016
TIME: 8:30 p.m. Eastern
MODERATORS: Wolf Blitzer
LOCATION: Houston, Texas
DEBATE PREVIEW: The South Carolina debate comes one week before the state’s primary on February 20. Donald Trump dominated New Hampshire, and his GOP rivals finished in a crowded field far behind him. Tonight’s debate will offer Cruz and Rubio a chance to blunt the Trump momentum, Kasich an opportunity to recapture the post-New Hampshire surge that fizzled in South Carolina, and may be a last chance for Ben Carson.
A few issues that may come to the fore in this debate:
- Both Trump and Cruz have been accused of “dirty tricks” by the Rubio campaign, with a Cruz staffer resigning in the wake of a flap about the Bible. This will almost definitely come up.
- While Donald Trump is well in the lead in delegates both now and in post-Super Tuesday projections, the debate occurs on friendly Cruz turf in Texas. He and Rubio will undoubtedly face questions about stopping the “Trump train.”
GOP Primary & Debate Schedule
Location TBD: March 2016, Fox News
Florida: Date TBD, CNN/Salem Radio
Super Tuesday (Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma,
Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wyoming): March 1
Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine: March 5
Puerto Rico: March 6
Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi: March 8
Guam, Washington, D.C.: March 12
Florida, Illinois, Missouri, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio: March 15
Virgin Islands: March 19
American Samoa, Arizona, Utah: March 22
Wisconsin: April 5
Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island: April 26
Indiana: May 3
Nebraska, West Virginia: May 10
Oregon: May 17
Washington: May 24
California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota: June 7