Missouri party representatives react to GOP debates

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COLUMBIA - The first Republican Party debate for the 2016 presidential cycle aired Thursday night. The debate was split into two parts: the main debate featuring the top 10 candidates, and the early debate for the seven candidates who didn't make the main event.

The early debate lasted an hour and covered issues like the Middle East, the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage, immigration and Planned Parenthood.

The main debate started around 8 p.m. and featured:

  • Donald Trump
  • Ted Cruz
  • Ben Carson
  • Chris Christie
  • John Kasich
  • Rand Paul
  • Marco Rubio
  • Jeb Bush
  • Scott Walker
  • Mike Huckabee

One member of the local Democratic committee said he was impressed with some of the questions of the first debate, saying there weren't any soft questions. He did say the candidates avoided providing solutions to some of the issues, though.

"The Republican Party has primarily been an opposition party," Boone County Democratic Committee Chair Homer Page said. "It really hasn't set forth solutions to real problems."

He did say he was impressed by Lindsay Graham saying he would discuss solutions, not science, in the climate control and environment argument if he were debating Hillary Clinton directly, though. 

The two-tier structure for the debate is a new style to the debate, but local Democrats and Republicans both think it is the best way to do it with so many candidates in the field. One local Republican said he thinks this is a good thing for the party because it means there are a lot of worthy candidates this year.

"I think it's valuable that we have 17 extremely qualified candidates," local Republican voter Taylor Burks said.

You can also go to the KOMU 8 News Facebook page to share your thoughts with us regarding the new structure.