A graphical history of GOP primary debates

The 2016 Republican debate season continues Wednesday in Boulder, Colo., with 10 candidates in the main debate. Here are a few graphs to put the 2016 debate schedule in context.

Debate Participation

Some pundits have heavily criticized the hosting TV networks for not allowing all of the major GOP candidates to participate in their primetime debates. To put that in perspective, there has been only one debate with more than 10 candidates — CNN's September debate with 11. Only four of the 72 debates between 1980-2012 had 10 candidates. The last debate with 10 candidates before this primary cycle was in June 2007.

The 2016 primary cycle also limits the number of debates. The 2012 cycle had the most debates, with 20, while 2008 had 19. The 12 debates planned for the 2016 cycle are roughly in line with 2000's 13 debates, while the three cycles preceding that all had fewer than eight debates.

Host States

Wednesday will be the first time Colorado has hosted a GOP primary debate. The state has hosted only one Democratic primary debate, in 1992.

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Wisconsin will also host its first-ever GOP debate before the nomination is decided. The Aug. 6 debate was the first time Ohio hosted. Democrats are also hosting a debate in Wisconsin for the first time ever this election cycle.

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