Carly Fiorina’s in the main event.
CNN, sponsor of Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate, announced the lineup and Fiorina, the former business executive, will join 10 others for the event, which begins at 8 p.m. EDT. The debate will be held at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
Fiorina did not qualify for the big stage in the first debate last month. But her performance in the forum for the lower-polling candidates got good reviews, and her poll numbers improved.
The overall rankings based on an average of all qualifying polls for the 16 candidates who met the requirements for participation are:
Donald Trump: 23.929
Jeb Bush: 11.500
Scott Walker: 9.429
Ben Carson: 8.929
Ted Cruz: 6.286
Marco Rubio: 5.643
Mike Huckabee: 5.571
Rand Paul: 4.714
John Kasich: 3.214
Chris Christie: 3.143
Carly Fiorina: 2.229
Rick Perry: 1.814
Rick Santorum: 1.214
Bobby Jindal: 1.057
George Pataki: 0.529
Lindsey Graham: 0.471
CNN noted the rules for inclusion were amended late last month “so that any candidate who made the top 10 in an average of polls conducted after the Fox News/Facebook debate held on August 6 would also be included in the later debate. Fiorina is the only candidate to move from the bottom six to the top 10 in that post-debate average.”
Perry, Santorum, Jindal, Pataki and Graham can participate in a second debate, to begin at 6 p.m. EDT and lasting an hour and 45 minutes.
Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia, did not qualify and cannot participate.
The polls determine who sits where. Trump will anchor the center of the stage, with Carson to his right and Bush to his left. On Bush’s left will be Walker, Fiorina, Kasich and Christie. To Carson’s right will be Cruz, Rubio, Huckabee and Paul will appear to Carson's right.
In the earlier debate, Perry will be in the center, with Jindal and Graham to his left and Santorum and Pataki to his right.
According to CNN, “the overall average includes results from a Fox News poll released July 17; a Washington Post/ABC News poll released July 20; a CNN/ORC poll released July 26; a Quinnipiac University poll released July 30; a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released August 2; a Monmouth University poll released August 3; a Fox News poll released August 3; a Bloomberg Politics poll released August 4; a CBS News poll released August 4; a Fox News poll released August 16; a CNN/ORC poll released August 18; a Quinnipiac University poll released August 27; a Monmouth University poll released September 3; and a CNN/ORC poll released September 10.”