Republican 2016 presidential candidates, left to right, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, Dr. Ben Carson, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, businessman Donald Trump, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator Rand Paul and Ohio Governor John Kasich pose at the start of the first official Republican presidential candidates debate in Cleveland on August 6, 2015.
Mandel Ngan—AFP/Getty Images
August 14, 2015 7:13 AM EDT

Correction appended, Aug. 14

It was the most significant week yet in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Tech executive Carly Fiorina’s hopes rose—along with her poll numbers, fundraising, and crowd counts—after a masterful performance at the GOP’s first debate, albeit a breakout showing for the also-ran candidates who trailed in public polling.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich showed that a smartly timed entrance to the race has the potential to reshape the race, but he now faces the scrutiny befitting a serious contender. And candidates sulked and nursed self-inflicted wounds after less-than-stellar performances left them on defense.

For sure, it’s still early. Iowans don’t caucus until February of next year. The mold-breaking candidacy of business mogul Donald Trump still looms over the fractured field of 16 major candidates. Predicting outcomes a half-year away is often a losing bet. Most voters are not paying attention yet, and those who are tend to be far more partisan and ideological than those who will show up to pick a nominee during the spring of 2016.

Yet there are some clues to the still-unsettled race and what lies ahead. Uncertainty seems to be the unifying theme throughout this race, and nothing is going to erase that with so much time to go.

That said, here’s what we’ve learned in the week since the debate.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the size of Scott Walker’s staff in Iowa. As of Aug. 14, he has four paid staffers and two consultants working in the state.

More Must-Read Stories From TIME

Write to Philip Elliott at

Read More From TIME