The third Republican debate will look a lot like the last one.

Ten of the 11 candidates on stage for the Sept. 16 debate on CNN are expected to be on the main stage on Oct. 28, when the party gathers in Boulder, Colo., for an event televised by CNBC.

The only exception is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who dropped out shortly after the last debate.

{mosads}GOP front-runner Donald Trump will again be center stage. He’ll be flanked by Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who has a tight grip on second place, according to an average of the qualifying polls. 

The other eight candidates who will make the main stage are Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas), former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.).

There’s also a second debate for candidates polling below an average of 2.5 percent but who have hit at least 1 percent in any qualifying poll. That debate will include the same four candidates as last time — former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.).

Former Gov. Jim Gilmore (Va.), who did not qualify for last month’s debate, will not qualify for this month’s either. 

CNBC used an average of qualifying polls from the major broadcast networks and Bloomberg from Sept. 17 through Oct. 21 to iron out the field.

Christie, Kasich and Paul tied for the lowest score of the top 10 candidates as of Wednesday afternoon with 3 percent. The 2.5 percent threshold made it essentially impossible for any additional candidates to jump onto the main stage, but both Paul and Christie briefly flirted with that floor.

The pair had dipped below 3 percent as late as Monday and could have been knocked out with at least two additional polls at 1 percent or lower. Instead, both were saved by stronger numbers. 

In the lower-tier debate, Graham didn’t qualify until the closing days of the polling period, where he finally showed up on the scoreboard in three of the final polls. 

CNBC’s debate will be moderated by the network’s John Harwood, Becky Quick and Carl Quintanilla. 

Tags Donald Trump Lindsey Graham Marco Rubio Rand Paul Ted Cruz

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