Something about this decision really stinks of favoritism and cronyism. We’d love to know who made the decision to punish the American viewers with yet ANOTHER painful appearance by John Kasich on the debate stage over Carly Fiorina and Rand Paul…
Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina have been booted to the undercard in Thursday night’s Republican primary debate as the number of main-stage candidates was cut to seven by stricter polling criteria.
Paul, who is struggling to gain traction in the presidential race, immediately cried foul, and vowed to not participate in the event.
Fox Business Network, which will televise the sixth GOP presidential debate this week, announced the debate fields on Monday evening, after weeks of speculation that Paul would for the first time not make the cut for the primetime event. The seven candidates who will appear on the main stage in North Charleston, S.C., are Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich. Kasich qualified as a result of his strength in New Hampshire.
Paul and Fiorina are set to join Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum in the undercard — if Paul decides to participate. The Kentucky senator told CNN Monday evening, just before the official announcement, that Fox Business had made “a mistake,” and he wouldn’t attend.
“We will not participate in anything that’s not first-tier,” Paul said. His campaign confirmed to POLITICO that he will sit out Thursday’s debate.
His campaign elaborated in a statement that multiple polls showed him well within the network’s criteria for qualifying, and contended that the margins of error in polls make them a poor tool for determining who makes the main stage.
“To exclude candidates on faulty analysis is to disenfranchise the voter,” the statement said. “Creating ‘tiers’ based on electoral results of real votes might make sense but creating ‘tiers’ on bad science is irresponsible.”
Regardless of whether he takes part in the undercard debate, the downgrade could be a crippling blow for Paul — who has insisted that he would remain in the race through the Feb. 1 Iowa caucuses, even though he also faces a reelection campaign this year for his Senate seat.
In an interview with POLITICO last week, Paul called for organizers to abolish the earlier undercard debate. “I’m not sure what the purpose is anymore, if there ever was one,” Paul said.
The Paul camp has fought hard to keep its candidate on the main stage, where he has appeared for the prior five debates. Earlier Monday, the campaign released a memo stating that “multiple national polls” have the Kentucky senator “in 5th or 6th place” — even though he’s in seventh place in the average nationally and in both early states. “By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top-tier campaign and has qualified for the stage,” the memo said.
But it was clear that Paul didn’t meet the criteria Fox Business had outlined prior to Monday’s qualification deadline. The network said it would average the five most recent polls nationally, and in both Iowa and New Hampshire. The top six candidates nationally would qualify – and if any other candidate appeared in the top five in either early state, they would be added.
Paul was in seventh place nationally and in both early states, according to POLITICO’s calculations.
Fox Business outlined specifically which polls were used in a subsequent statement to reporters, saying the outlet used “the most recent national and state polls from non-partisan, nationally-recognized organizations using standard methodological techniques.” Via: Politico