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Kasich, Republicans, Others Getting Ready For Cleveland GOP Debate

The final cast for the first Republican presidential debate of this election cycle should be known tomorrow. 

But Governor John Kasich is expected to be in Cleveland on debate night - along with many others. Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

In comments to reporters after opening the Ohio State Fair, Kasich downplayed any concerns that he may or may not have about making that first debate in his home state, when he was asked how he appraised his chances of ending up on that stage. “I don’t. I don’t appraise my chances on that. You all know that,” Kasich said. “We’ll see what happens. It’s a long road till the – till this is all finished, so we’ll see what happens.”

Fox News is sponsoring the debate, and has said it will select the 10 candidates who will participate based on their average in the five most recent national polls – but has not identified which polls, so there’s still room for changes to the top 10.  But Ohio Republican Party Chair Matt Borges is confident that Kasich will make the cut. “We won’t know for certain who the Ohio Republican Party sends invitations out to until August 4, when we actually make those invitations,” said Borges. “But I’m confident that our governor looks strong and he’s only trending upward right now.”

Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper also plans to be in Cleveland for the debate. He and other Democrats will do a pre-buttal of sorts a few hours before it starts and a watch party during the event, which he said will be interesting for Democrats because of one particular participant in the GOP field: “Donald Trump. And they have a bunch of other candidates who have no idea how to respond to Donald Trump. So we’ll be watching the debate, we’ll be enjoying it...I’ll invite Matt, we’ll have a great debate watch party up there, you’re welcome, all your friends,” Pepper told Borges in a joint interview with Ohio Public Radio and Television last week.

Fox will host a debate at 5pm for all the candidates who don’t make the main event, suspending an earlier requirement that only candidates who had polled at least 1% could participate. Several events are planned around the debate – including the first-ever urban Republican leadership conference watch parties by the American Conservative Union and by Ohio’s Voice, a local pro-immigration group.

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