GOP’s Chris Christie back on main presidential debate stage

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New Jersey Governor and Republican presidential hopeful Chris Christie speaks at Chabad House at Rutgers University to express his opposition to President Obama's Iran deal on August 25, 2015 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — CNN says New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will join eight other candidates on the prime-time Republican presidential debate stage on Tuesday.

The cable news network announced the lineup Sunday. Christie had been dropped from the main-stage lineup in the last debate, due to low poll ratings. But he cleared CNN’s threshold for Tuesday.

Front-runner Donald Trump will appear at center stage, flanked by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Sen. Ted Cruz, who is surging in Iowa. Other GOP hopefuls who qualified for the main stage include Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

The network says GOP hopefuls Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham and George Pataki will debate earlier on Tuesday.