Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Thursday that the first debate of the second-tier candidates seeking the 2016 presidential nomination proved that "we have a real race on our hands."
"The other side basically has a coronation," Priebus told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News after the debate at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. "I think that excitement is good."
Priebus said that Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Carly Fiorina "certainly did a good job, as did all the candidates" and added that he was not surprised that among the first questions to the contenders was about the front-runner in the polls, billionaire businessman Donald Trump.
"A lot of these candidates who were in the first debate they are going to break out," he told Van Susteren. "Some of them are going to find themselves on the other stage at the next debate and maybe the one after that."
Regarding Trump, "right now, he is the front-runner," he said. "These are the questions that are going to come up, and I suspect that they will come up in the next debate."
"Certainly there are a lot of people that are just frustrated in many ways, even frustrated with both parties," Priebus explained. "Frustrated with Washington and stagnation."
"Maybe there is proof of that — that Donald Trump has tapped in to that. But it's a long campaign. Donald Trump knows that too. And everybody understands this is the first of many debates."
"I suspect things are going to come up and down and that's the exciting thing about that," he said. "The good thing is we have a young diverse party. We have a real race on our hands."
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