On the Republican front Donald Trump is still sucking up most of the oxygen, while most of the bottom tier candidates have been desperately trying to make the cut for the first debate, hosted by Fox News on August 6.

Only 10 of the 17 candidates will be included. For the last week New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry were all locked in a three-way tie for the last two spots. It was announced on Tuesday that Perry missed the boat. The other 8 candidates that made the cut include: billionaire businessman Donald Trump; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

The other candidates include former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former New York Gov. George Pataki, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore. Fox News has agreed to give each of them a chance to speak before the debate.

According to Quinnipiac University national poll released last Thursday Trump leads the pack with 20 percent with Walker at 13 percent and Bush at 10 percent. No other Republican candidate got more than 6 percent, while 12 percent are still undecided. Because of Trump’s standing in the polls he will be positioned center stage come the debate.

But the dark horse in the race could be Ohio Gov. Kasich who has surged to fourth place in a poll in New Hampshire. Nationally he’s barely on the radar but his message appears to be resonating with voters in the first in the nation primary.

Two early front-runners, Rubio and Paul, have both seen their stars dim as more candidates have jumped into the race.

Paul, who was courting the libertarian wing of the party, and hoping to galvanize his father Ron Paul’s supporters, instead appears to be fading.

Rand Paul was always supposed to be different from Ron Paul. Any serious political observer realized he could not win a Republican nomination—or any nomination—holding the hardcore positions of his father. But his pragmatism has evolved over the years into boilerplate Republican talking points. Today he is a candidate who has very few unique positions on anything.

  • By Jonathan Bydlak, former Fundraising Director for Ron Paul

Bydlak isn’t the only one who questions his libertarian credentials.

SFGN received this statement from the National Libertarian Party on Paul’s views and whether they are consistent with a true libertarian.

The Libertarian Party differs with Rand Paul on several issues, notably marriage equality, marijuana, and military intervention.

Most of our differences can be attributed to Rand Paul's kowtowing to the Republican Party and its Big Government, socially intolerant, interventionist agenda. Rand Paul introduced a budget amendment to increase military spending by 16 percent. Libertarians call for cutting military spending 60 percent, getting out of the Middle East, and bringing our troops home.

Rand Paul sidesteps the issues of marriage equality and ending the failed drug prohibition. The LP has always insisted on the rights of consenting adults to engage in any behavior, or enter into any contract, as they see fit so long as they harm no one else.

  • Carla Howell, Political Director National Libertarian Party

Rubio, on the other hand, has simply just disappeared from the headlines.

The upcoming debate will undoubtedly raise some profiles and possible sink a campaign or two. White House Watch will be watching.

Meanwhile on the Democratic front Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the polls. According to the same poll mentioned above the former secretary of state has tops the poll with 55 percent, with 17 percent for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and 13 percent for Vice President Joseph Biden. No other candidate has more than 1 percent, while 11 percent are undecided.


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