As I’m sure you all know by now, the first Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential race will take place this coming Thursday to be moderated by Fox News. We won’t get final word on the participants and format until Tuesday, but here’s an early look at what we know now.

In terms of participants, it looks like the final two slots will come down to polling averages between Christie, Kasich and Perry. Unless something changes in the next few days, Perry is out.

That means that the following group is in: Trump, Walker, Bush, Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Paul, Rubio, Christie and Kasich.

Relegated to the “kiddy” debate will be: Perry, Jindal, Graham, Pataki, Santorum, Fiorina and Gilmore.

Apparently Fox News is communicating with candidates about the debate forum. Here’s what Kendall Breitman learned about that:

According to two people familiar with the network’s plans, candidates will get one minute to answer each question addressed to them by moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier during the program, which begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time on August 6.

Candidates who are called upon will be given only 30 seconds for rebuttals. If a candidate’s name is invoked during someone else’s answer to a question, that candidate will get a chance to respond for a length of time at the moderator’s discretion…

On the crowded stage of 10 candidates, the candidate with the highest polling numbers – currently real estate mogul Donald Trump – will stand at the center of the stage, with lower-polling candidates fanned out in alternating order to the left and right.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all prepped and ready to go.

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