12/13/2015 13:26 EST | Updated 12/13/2016 00:12 EST

CNN: Gov. Chris Christie returns to prime-time for Tuesday's Republican presidential debate

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 centre 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.

Associated Pres, The Associated Press