Wednesday marks the second Republican debate of the 2015 primary season. Starting at 6 p.m. Eastern, Presidential candidates will take the debate stage, this time in Simi Valley, California, to field questions from three debate moderators: CNN anchors Jake Tapper and Dana Bash and Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt.
The debate, which CNN is hosting, consists of two parts: a lower-tier, smaller debate and the prime-time debate. The first includes candidates who weren't polling high enough to reserve them a spot on the main stage, an invitation that went only to the top contenders. The pre-debate debate is scheduled for 6 p.m. Eastern and is expected to go until 7:45 p.m. The main event is slated for 8 p.m.
Fifteen candidates are expected to participate in Wednesday's GOP debate — four in the first debate and 11 in the main debate. That's two fewer than took part in the party's first national debate, hosted by Fox News, in August.
Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry became the primary's first casualty after he dropped out of the race on Friday. Perry's campaign struggled with fundraising while the candidate's popularity with voters had stalled.
The candidates participating in the main debate are real estate magnate and party front runner Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
That leaves Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum for the so-called kiddie table debate.