By Pat Warren

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Marylanders tuning in to the Republican race for president will see world famous former neurosurgeon Ben Carson make a stand against nine other candidates.

The first prime time campaign of the season is Thursday. Carson polled fifth highest in the field of 17 candidates.

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Political reporter Pat Warren looks at what this might mean for his campaign.

The 17 Republicans in the race for president forced debate organizers to narrow it down to the top ten.

Candidates for the debate were picked according to the polls, and that makes Donald Trump number one, former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin’s governor Scott Walker numbers two and three, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee number four, and number five is Maryland neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who made a splash in 2013 criticizing President Obama’s health care and economic policies.

A Wall Street Journal editorial called on him to run for president, and he announced this year in May.

Carson and Trump are the only non-politicians in the field.

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“So what does it say about Ben Carson’s campaign that he’s running fifth in the polls out of 17 candidates?” asked Warren.

“Ben Carson is the opposite of shifty–he doesn’t always seem to calculate everything he does,” political analyst Richard Vatz replied. “And I think that people like that. I like that. When I see that, I think to myself, ‘Boy, what a good man.'”

That number five position puts him smack in the middle of more politically experienced and voter approved candidates — U.S. senators Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, New Jersey governor Chris Christie–endorsed by Maryland Governor Hogan–and Ohio governor John Kasich narrowly made the cut.

“He’s a warm guy, and he’s also a sincere fellow. But sometimes, because of that sincerity, he will make a gaffe and that will hurt him,” said Vatz.

The candidates for the debate were chosen according to the five most recent national polls, including CBS News.

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The seven other Republicans will debate earlier Thursday evening.