Republican candidates are set to take to the stage in the party's second debate for the 2016 US presidential elections. The hopefuls will likely try to make the most of the publicity on national TV on Wednesday to take shots at their competitors and convince voters to support them for the party’s nomination.
The debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan Library in California and will be broadcast by CNN nationally.
The candidates will be divided into two groups according to their level of support in recent poll numbers. The 11 better polling candidates will appear at the main prime time debate at 8pm EDT and four others will participate in the earlier 6pm EDT debate.
Donald Trump, a real estate mogul billionaire turned politician, will be at the center of the stage is likely to draw the most attention as the front running presidential candidate.
Despite his controversial remarks on immigration, women, his opponents and foreign policy, Trump has been rising in the polls since he announced his candidacy in early June and his support has recently risen over 30 percent according to a Reuters-Ipsos opinion poll.
Trump's high polling numbers, his front runner status and earlier remarks about other candidates are expedted to make him main target in the debate.
“I hear they are going after me. Whatever. Whatever,” Trump said at campaign rally in Dallas on Monday, talking about the predicted attacks on him by his competitors.
Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is one of the candidates who has most to lose and win in the debate.
Bush started the summer as an early frontrunner but his poll numbers have been steadily decreasing since and he ranks third among the pack with sigle digit support according to recent polls by CNN of the attendees of tonight’s debate.
Bush promised to take on Trump if he gets the chance and questioned his support of Democratic policy positions on tax rates and healthcare.
Bush has so far gathered the highest amount of campaign donations among all candidates and is still supported by the party establishment despite falling poll numbers.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson will be another candidate to watch as he saw surging poll numbers recently and ranked second after Trump according to polls taken into consideration for the second debate, although many said he performed poorly in the first debate.
As the only African-American Republican candidate, Carson has been received support especially from evangelical Christians with his conservative views and the ability to draw large crowds in rallies.
Carson said he is not planning to get into exchanges with Trump or other candidates adding, “My intentions are to talk about my programs, the things that I would like to try to do in conjunction with my fellow Americans to get America back on the right track.”
The debate will also present a chance for businesswoman Carly Fiorina to showcase herself, as the only candidate to move from the second-tier table to prime time debate after rising in the polls since the first presidential debate on Aug. 6.
Fiorina, the only woman among the Republican candidates, is expected to square off against Trump, who recently said “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?” speaking about Fiorina’s presidential credentials.
“I think Mr. Trump’s going to be hearing quite a lot from me,” Fiorina said to CNBC before the debate.
"Donald Trump and I are in totally different businesses -- he’s in the entertainment business and he’s also in a privately held business," she added.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Ohio Governor John Kasich and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will complete the 11 candidates in the prime time debate.
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former New York governor George Pataki and South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham will appear in the earlier debate.
Former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore could not qualify for either of the debates as he did not receive at least one percent support in three national polls.