Time is running out for Republican presidential hopefuls to make the cut for the first official primary debate to be hosted by Fox News in August, and the most recent polls will be the determining factor.
One of the anchors of the Aug. 6 debate, Fox News’ Bret Baier, told Sean Hannity on Tuesday that the news network would announce which 10 of the 16 current contenders have earned a place on stage in Cleveland by Aug. 4.
Candidates must be in the top 10 of five national polls from major organizations, Baier said.
Baier said that even the candidates who don’t earn enough support in the polls to merit a podium in the debate will have a chance to address the crowd and field questions beforehand from Fox News personalities Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.
“All of the candidates will be there in Cleveland, we expect,” Baier said.
Given the criteria, it appears a foregone conclusion that real estate mogul Donald Trump will be among the presidential hopefuls on stage for the official debate, Baier said.
“[Trump is] riding this wave,” Baier said. “Whether that is sustainable, we’ll have to see.”
Baier dismissed concerns over Republican infighting, saying the debates will give the ultimate Republican nominee a chance to fine tune the GOP’s message for the general election.
“If you’re going to face a Hillary Clinton machine, you need to be pretty tested,” Baier said.