Will Donald Trump Be Replaced In The GOP Debate? Another Republican Is Set To Return To Primetime

Donald Trump, aka the highest polling baby ever to run for office, will not grace our screens at Thursday's debate, according to his campaign manager. For months, Trump has whined about Fox News' Megyn Kelly since their tiff at the first GOP debate, and his threats of boycotting her return as co-moderator have finally been realized. Fox News is standing by Kelly, so that means Trump is out. But if the front-runner is out, will another GOP candidate take Trump's spot? The stage will look pretty barren without The Donald's boisterous debate style — or lifestyle, for that matter — so who could help spice up the seventh GOP debate?

It turns out nobody will. Trump won't be getting a replacement. This time around, there will be seven candidates at the primetime debate. In a win for Libertarians, Rand Paul will return to the 9 p.m. primetime spot, but not because of Trump's decision to back out. Paul has seen a surge in the polls since he boycotted the undercard debate earlier this month, so who knows if Trump's numbers will bump because of this. Regardless, he doesn't need it as desperately as Paul did. Fox News issued a statement outlining how a candidate could qualify:

To qualify, a candidate needs to be either among the top six in an average of the five most recent national polls, or among the top five in an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls.
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Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum will remain in the 7 p.m. undercard debate, but there will also be a face you haven't seen since the first undercard debate: Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore has seen enough of a rise in the polls to earn a spot, and this was not linked to Paul's graduation. Apparently, Gilmore earned it himself.

Though viewership of the 9 p.m. debate will surely decline due to the gaping hole on stage, this might be a chance for us to hear more about the rest of the candidates' policies instead of whatever new insult they've devised for Trump. Unlike the Democrats, one absent candidate won't jeopardize the capacity for a debate (can you imagine a Democratic debate without Hillary?), and perhaps you'll get to see more of the presidential hopefuls' true colors without Trump dominating screen time. Or, of course, they might just spend the whole time ridiculing him for his absence. Unfortunately, the latter seems way more likely.