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Republican candidates in the Lowcountry for 2016's first GOP deb - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Republican candidates in the Lowcountry for 2016's first GOP debate

The North Charleston Coliseum. (Photo Source: WCSC) The North Charleston Coliseum. (Photo Source: WCSC)
NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) -

All eyes will be on the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center tonight as the Republican candidates for president face off in the first GOP debate of the year.

The debate, which will air at 9:00 p.m. on FOX Business Network, will only feature the top seven candidates in the race for the White House.
 
Businessman Donald Trump, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich will face off in tonight's debate.

An RNC official says some debate questions will definitely stem from President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address Tuesday.

According to the network's special projects producer, the Coliseum will not be filled to its 14,000 person capacity.

"We are planning for an estimated 4,000," Reed McDowell said.

The approximately 4,000 tickets for tonight’s debate were distributed to Republican Party activists, leaders and elected officials, according the Matt Moore, Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party.

Moore says ticket requests for tonight’s debate were more than the party could accommodate.

"We had over 25,000 individual requests for around 200 public tickets," Moore said.
 
Nearly 13.5 million viewers tuned into FOX News' last sanctioned debate in Nov. 2015. Moore says they're not yet projecting ratings for this year.

"Fox Business Network is not making any projections on viewership for the debate," said Reed McDowell.

Remaining candidates who register at least one percent according to the network's polling standards, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; former HP CEO Carly Fiorina; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, are invited to participate in a debate at 6 p.m. 

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