BATON ROUGE, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and his Republican challengers, Congressman Ralph Abraham, and businessman Eddie Rispone, will face off this Thursday night in a televised debate.

Three of the top- polling candidates have proven eligible to take the stage in front of a live audience at LSU’s Union Theatre in Baton Rouge. Nexstar’s criteria, a document that can be seen here, establishes five benchmarks to be met.

Only three candidates out of the six listed on the ballot have met all five of those requirements. They are John Bel Edwards (D) from Amite, Ralph Abraham (R) from Alto, and Eddie Rispone (R) from Baton Rouge.

Candidates that have not met the threshold to participate are Gary Landrieu (I) from Metairie, Patrick “Live Wire” Landry (I) from New Orleans, and Oscar “Omar” Dantzler (D) from Hammond.

Much like the democratic presidential debates, Nexstar has a criteria that all candidates must comply with before they can be invited on stage.

It’s designed to ensure the candidates have enough time to adequately share their vision for the state.

Organizers of the debate hope to highlight the candidates’ differences clearly.

One of the five criteria sets a standard for campaign contributions. Candidates must have accepted at least $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents.

Thursday was the deadline for candidates to have filed their campaign finance report. According to the latest campaign financial report John Bel Edwards has raised $1.5 million. Rispone raised more than $138,000. Ralph Abraham raised about $743,000.

The reasons for being disqualified range from a lack of funding, to a lack of support in the polls. Candidates must poll at a minimum of five percent. The latest published poll indicates Edwards sits around 47%, Abraham has 24%, and Rispone is at 16%.

If candidates do not reach even one of the five benchmarks they cannot participate in the debate.

The debate will air statewide at 7 p.m. in front of a live audience at LSU’s Union Theatre in Baton Rouge. KTAL NBC 6 parent company Nexstar Media Group is hosting the debate, in collaboration with the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication.

KTAL NBC 6 anchor Jacque Jovic is one of the three moderators for the debate, along with WVLA’s Fred Childers and Chad Sabadie. They will deliver questions to the candidates focused on topical local and regional issues impacting communities across Louisiana, including education, health care, infrastructure, and the economy, as well as candidate-specific subjects.

The one-hour debate will air on KTAL NBC 6, WNTZ-TV, WVLA-TV (NBC), WGMB (FOX), KLFY-TV (CBS), KTVE-TV (NBC), in addition, to select television broadcast partners including KSWL-TV (CBS) and WGNO-TV (ABC),

The primary will be held October 12, with a runoff election (if necessary) on November 19.