The 10 lucky Republican presidential candidates who will make it onstage for Thursday's debate were announced by Fox News Tuesday evening. Chris Christie and John Kasich have just made the cut — and Rick Perry has narrowly missed it. Meanwhile, poll leader Donald Trump will be center stage. Here's how the candidates will be positioned:
Though Fox had been somewhat opaque about what its methods would be, the results tracked what most analysts expected based on recent polls (and what I had initially written last week). Trump, Jeb Bush, and Scott Walker qualified easily, while the next five candidates — Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul — made it in too.
The real drama was at the bottom, where Chris Christie, John Kasich, and Rick Perry were battling for the final two spots. But Kasich's late announcement seems to have bumped him up a couple points in the polls, and left Perry slightly behind him.
Perry and the six other Republican candidates who failed to qualify for the primetime debate— Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore — will instead appear at a 5 pm Fox News forum, a sort of "loser's bracket."
But that will be little consolation, particularly for candidates like Perry and Santorum, who ran for president last time around and made it to the big stage.