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Next GOP debate may only feature six candidates

By Ann Marie Awad
Next GOP debate may only feature six candidates
John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Rand Paul (L-R) participate in the fifth Republican presidential candidates' debate at the Venetian Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 15, 2015. The top 9 candidates squared off in the first-tiered debate on the main stage. Pool Photo by Ruth Fremson/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- Fewer than half of the Republican presidential hopefuls may make it on stage for the first televised debate of 2016.

The next GOP debate, to be hosted by Fox Business Network on Jan. 14 in Charleston, S.C., will boast tougher requirements to qualify for the main stage.

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Variety reported candidates will have to meet at least one of three eligibility requirements to make it to the main event:

By Jan. 11, they must place in the top six in an average of the five most recent polls; They must place in the top five in an average of five recent Iowa polls, or they must place in the top five in an average of the five most recent New Hampshire polls.

The network estimated Tuesday that six candidates would meet at least one of those requirements. Those candidates are Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to The Huffington Post.

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The last GOP presidential debate on CNN allowed nine candidates on the main stage.

There will still be an under card debate, this time with a bigger stage. To qualify for that debate, candidates will need to rank at least at one percent in an average of five recent polls.

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