With First Debate, GOP Looks to Narrow Vast Candidate Field

Republican Presidential Candidates to Meet in Prime-Debate

The political veteran with the right resume, but perhaps the wrong last name.

The rookie senators and their focus on foreign policy and individual rights.

Governors with experience _ and baggage.

The never-been-elected outsiders, and of course, the billionaire showman.

For the Republican Party, the narrowing of that vast field of presidential hopefuls begins in earnest Thursday with the first debate of the 2016 campaign.

At stake for Republicans is not just the candidate who will represent them in the general election, but the direction the party will take as it seeks to regain the White House.

As in 2012, the GOP faces a tug of war between those eager for a candidate with broad appeal and those who think the key to winning is nominating a fiery conservative.

The prime-time lineup includes former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.

Fox News will air the debate on the Fox News Channel at 8 p.m. Central tonight.

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