The third GOP presidential debate is almost here — it's happening Wednesday night on CNBC. But there's no reason we can't peek forward a bit at the next one, right? Especially when there are somewhat historic implications. The fourth GOP undercard debate will have two women moderating for the first time ever, and there will be one woman working the prime-time debate as well.
The debate is scheduled for November 10, 2015, making it the first to take place within a calendar year of election day. It's being put on by Fox Business Network and The Wall Street Journal, and as has been the case throughout the Republican primary, there will actually be two debates happening on the day — an earlier one, featuring the remaining handful of no-shot also-ran candidates like Lindsay Graham, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki, and the main event.
And the undercard debate will be featuring a pair of women asking the questions — Fox Business hosts Trish Regan and Sandra Smith, in addition to Gerald Seib, Washington bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal. In August, Fox News' debate made some big headlines thanks to its own successful woman behind the desk, Megyn Kelly. But this will be the first time that two women will team up to interrogate some presidential ... not quite contenders, I suppose. Hopefuls? Aspirants?
It's not set in stone just yet which candidates Regan and Smith will be questioning, because there's more polling to be done, and this debate is bit less forgiving than the previous three. To get on the main stage on Fox Business, a candidate will have to do better than 2.5 percent in four national polls through Nov. 4, which could mean that some desperate hangers-on at the main stage — looking at you, Chris Christie — get bumped down.
To make the undercard debate, you only need to be polling above one percent in those four polls, but even that's actually a pretty close call for some of these guys. Graham, Jindal, Pataki, and Jim Gilmore could conceivably all slip under that — assuming they haven't dropped out by then — which could render the whole need for an undercard debate moot.
In addition to Smith and Regan handling things prior to the main event, Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo will be paired with Neil Cavuto (who also hosts shows on Fox News) and The Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker. The undercard debate is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 10, while the main debate starts at 9 p.m. ET.