Long shots, such as Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, have indicated that they plan to be more assertive in the second debate. And, unlike the first go-round, this one is likely to include former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, who has shown a willingness and ability to hit hard.

The newfound aggression, however, has not improved the standing of many candidates, leaving them eager for a breakout moment at the Sept. 16 event at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

“A panic has set in on a number of campaigns. I’m expecting this next debate could more resemble roller derby than a debate,” said John Weaver, an adviser to the campaign of Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, one of the few of the GOP hopefuls to experience a bit of a bump since the first debate…

“Somebody is going to make a run at Trump,” Gingrich said. “I assume it will be Jeb Bush,” whose status as a presumed favorite has been dented the most by Trump.