Republican debate draws 14.5 million viewers

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Thursday night's Republican presidential debate drew 14.5 million viewers, according to initial ratings.

Overnight Nielsen figures showed that 13.2 million watched the debate on CNN and another 1.3 million watched on Spanish-language network Telemundo, according to CNN.

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That marks the highest-rated debate since a CNN event in December, which drew 18 million viewers. The CBS Republican debate earlier this month held on a Saturday night drew 13.51 million viewers.

The debate Thursday night in Houston came ahead of Super Tuesday, when GOP voters in 12 states, including Texas, hit the polls. It followed Trump's big win in South Carolina and saw rivals Marco RubioMarco RubioVa. GOP delegate files lawsuit over bound convention votes The Hill's 12:30 Report Rubio Senate challenger drops out MORE and Ted CruzTed CruzVa. GOP delegate files lawsuit over bound convention votes Our most toxic export: American politick 'Never Trump' group ad compares Trump to Reagan MORE aggressively target the front-runner.

Thursday's debate was the 10th for Republicans this cycle. The first two debates, in August on Fox News and in September on CNN, drew 24 million and 23 million, respectively.

Rubio and Cruz questioned Trump's business record and conservative credentials. Trump in return mocked at Rubio as a "choker" and Cruz as a "basket case."

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