Onstage in the top-tier debate at 5:00 pm (AZ Time) tonight will be 11 candidates: Donald Trump, who remains the leader in presidential polls, followed by Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush.
Just preceding this crucial debate, establishment-backed Bush, whose polling numbers have steadily plummeted, has released a new campaign ad featuring his Mexican immigrant wife in which he speaks Spanish. A Monmouth University poll released on Monday found that in New Hampshire, Bush has slipped from second place into a tie for fifth with Carly Fiorina at 7%.
Second tier candidates Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki, and Lindsey Graham will debate at 3:00 pm (AZ Time).
Speaking to voter dissatisfaction with the status quo, political outsiders Trump and Carson are leading in recent polling.
Moderators for tonight’s debate, hosted by and aired on CNN, are Jake Tapper, Dana Bash and Hugh Hewitt.