By Sara Liptak
All 17 candidates in the Republican primary field were in Cleveland, OH on August 7th for the first GOP debate. The seven candidates who did not make the top ten ranked polls spoke at 5 p.m. (the early debate) on stage, and had a half-hour to answer questions from Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum from Fox News.
The House of Blues (HOB) in downtown Cleveland held a “Watch Party” for those who wished to partake in the happy hour debate. Tickets were $10 to be in attendance of the watch party. Inside, there were about 200 people who watched on the projection screen and small side TVs at the HOB. A vibrant crowd of Republicans waited to hear what each candidate had to say, while also being fed gourmet food and getting two complimentary drinks from the basement bar.
Once the early debate was finished broadcasting live, members from The American Conservative Union (ACU) joined on stage in the basement at the HOB. ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp and Fox News National Security Analyst KT McFarland were two of the many who stood out in speaking to the crowd before the 9 p.m. debate began, giving the audience information about the ACU and pushing for the Republican party to win Ohio’s vote next year.
Eye on Cleveland Reporters Robby Fenbers and Sara Liptak attended the GOP Watch Party and got a few reactions from attendees on who they think won the 5 p.m. debate, along with hearing opinions on the only African American Republican candidate/retired surgeon, Ben Carson.