A graphical history of GOP primary debates

The 2016 Republican debate season continues Tuesday in Milwaukee, with eight 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. Tuesday's Fox Business debate will have eight candidates on the main stage, the fewest yet in a GOP debate this primary cycle. Still, that's well above the average of six candidates per debate from 1980 to 2016.

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

Tuesday will be the first time Wisconsin has hosted a GOP primary debate. The state is also hosting its first-ever Democratic primary debate in February.

The Aug. 6 debate was the first time Ohio hosted a GOP debate, and the Oct. 28 debate was the first time Colorado hosted.

By the end of the 2016 cycle, New Hampshire will have hosted the most GOP primary debates, with 20, followed by Iowa and South Carolina with 12 each. Combined, those three states account for more than half of all the debates. Sixteen states plus Washington, D.C. have hosted a GOP debate in the past or plan to host one this primary cycle.

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