Fox News, Facebook to host first GOP primary debate of 2016 race

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Fox News and Facebook will host the first Republican primary debate of the 2016 presidential race on Aug. 6 in Ohio, the network announced Wednesday.

The debate, to be presented in conjunction with the Ohio Republican Party, will be held at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

The announcement comes as the Republican field is still taking shape. Six primary candidates have formally declared their intention to seek the nomination -- but several more are expected to declare in the coming weeks, contributing to one of the largest-ever GOP primary fields.

The Aug. 6 debate will be moderated by Fox News' Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace.

The format will allow Fox News viewers and Facebook users to share video questions via the social media site, some of which will be used for the debate, the network said.

Fox News' Executive Vice President of News Editorial Michael Clemente also announced the criteria for candidates:

They must meet all constitutional requirements; must announce and register a formal campaign; must file all required paperwork with the Federal Election Commission; and must place in the top 10 in an average of the five most recent, recognized national polls leading up to Aug. 4.

Those who do not place in the top 10 will be provided additional coverage and air time, Clemente said in a statement.

The debate will be presented live from 9-11 p.m. ET, on Fox News Channel, with additional coverage on Fox News Radio, Fox News Mobile and

Andy Mitchell, director of News and Global Media Partnerships at Facebook, said, "Facebook's scale and foundation in real identity give Fox News and the Republican contenders for the nomination the opportunity to open up the debate to Americans in a new and unique way."

Ohio GOP Chairman Matt Borges reiterated the crucial role his state is playing this cycle in both the primary process and general election -- as the site of the 2016 Republican National Convention, and a crucial swing state.

"A Republican can't win the White House without carrying our state, so there's no better place to host the first primary debate," he said.