GOP Debate to be held in N. Charleston

The Venetian theatre stage is set for the Republican presidential debate at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada December 15, 2015.

WASHINGTON (AP) – A smaller cast of Republican presidential candidates is ready to return to the main debate stage for one of the last high-profile opportunities for White House hopefuls to sway voters before the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus.

The prime-time showdown on Thursday night in North Charleston, South Carolina will highlight a race that has cleaved into two distinct – and increasingly heated – contests.

After months of civility toward rival Ted Cruz, front-runner Donald Trump is aggressively targeting the Texan, saying the Canadian-born senator may be ineligible to be president. Cruz is returning the fire, accusing the brash businessman of having “New York values” and questioning his foreign policy credentials.

Four other candidates on stage are fighting to become the more mainstream Republican alternative to the pair of anti-Washington candidates leading the field.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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