CNN determined eligibility based on an average of national polls, with Donald Trump leading the list with an average of 23.9%, well ahead of Jeb Bush at 11.5%. They are followed by Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Carly Fiorina. The debate will begin at 5 p.m. PT.
Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, would not have made the main event debate had CNN not changed its criteria to give greater weight to polls taken following the Aug. 6 Fox news debate. Then, Fiorina stood out among other candidates participating in the so-called “kids’ table” debate, improving her polling position and driving speculation that she would make the main stage.
The candidates invited to the earlier debate, starting at 3 p.m. PT, are Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, George Pataki and Lindsey Graham.