The absence of Donald Trump in tonight’s GOP debate means Sen. Ted Cruz will be the main target, says a Fox News personality.

“We are basically going to see Senator Cruz in a de facto frontrunner position during the debate on Thursday night,” predicts Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio.

Starnes spoke to OneNewsNow on Wednesday, a day after Trump announced he was refusing to participate in the debate, which will take place in Des Moines, Iowa just days before the Feb. 1 caucuses.

OneNewsNow also spoke on Wednesday with Rafael Cruz, the senator’s father. The elder Cruz suggests the debate would be better with Trump, the current GOP front-runner.

“His view is just the same as mine,” the father says of his candidate son. “The voters of America deserve to hear those candidates answer the tough questions.”

Trump said at a press conference Tuesday that he was unhappy that Fox News was leaving Megyn Kelly as a debate moderator. Her sharp questioning of Trump last August angered Trump, who has repeatedly insulted her since that night.

Cruz and other candidates ridiculed Trump, asking how he could lead as president if he’s afraid of confronting Kelly again.

The downside of Trump dropping out, says Starnes, is that the other GOP candidates will come after Cruz, since he is polling second in national polls and is tied with Trump in Iowa.

“I think that this is going to be (Cruz’s) opportunity to step up and let the voters know who he is,” Starnes says.

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Copyright OneNewsNow.com. Reprinted with permission.

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