The Republican primary candidates will debate Thursday night in Florida—a state that is expected to be a game changer for the Republican field when it votes next week.
The debate, moderated by Jake Tapper, will include Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The 8:30 p.m. ET debate will be broadcast live on CNN and available for free online at CNN.com, according to CNN.
The Florida primaries will take place less than a week from the debate, and many analysts agree that Rubio will have to win his home state in order to remain in the race. So far, despite the elite support that rallied behind Rubio after Jeb Bush dropped out of the race, the Florida senator has won less than half of Cruz’s delegate count, and less than a third of Trump’s.
If Trump is able to nab Florida (and the most recent Washington Post-Univision poll shows him doing so by seven points), he’ll win all 99 delegates. Combined win a potential win in winner-take-all Ohio that same day, the unlikely frontrunner would widen the distance between himself and his opponents almost insurmountably. Last month, Karl Rove called March 15 the deadline for a challenger to Trump to rise out of the candidate pool.
The Republican debate, which will take place at the University of Miami, will be the candidates’ twelfth this season.