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The Gazette KCRG
Posted December 7, 2011
Republican hopefuls, including Huntsman, will participate in Fox-Iowa GOP debate Dec. 15

Republican presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry, left, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman laugh during a commercial break at a Republican Presidential Debate at Oakland University in Auburn Hills, Mich., Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


SIOUX CITY — All seven major Republican presidential candidates have confirmed they will participate in the Dec. 15 GOP debate in Sioux City.

According to sources close to the debate not authorized to talk with the media, all of the candidates — including former Utah Gov.  Jon Huntsman — have committed to the event.

It will be the first opportunity for many Iowans to see Huntsman, who has been to Iowa only once during the campaign — for a debate in Ames prior to the Iowa GOP Straw Poll.

The debate at the Sioux City Convention Center will be hosted by Fox News and the Iowa Republican Party. Huntsman will be joined by Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry.

The seven candidates are prepping for the Saturday Des Moines debate, also hosted by the Iowa GOP, and are working in some campaign stops when they return to the state.

Business mogul Donald Trump, meanwhile, is having less success attracting candidates to a recently added Dec. 27 debate in Des Moines. Gingrich and Santorum have said they will participate in the debate hosted by Trump, but Romney, Huntsman and Paul have all declined.

Tickets for the Sioux City debate are sold out. The Iowa Republican Party set three levels — $50 for two general admission tickets, $100 for two premium seating tickets and $1,500 for five close-to-the-candidates seats and the ability to have a pre-debate dinner with Iowa Republican Party Chairman Matt Strawn.

State party assistant communications director Nicole Sizemore said she had no information about which ticket level was most popular with the people who nabbed the 1,700 tickets in just more than a week.

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