Fox Business Network has just announced the line-up for Thursday’s Republican debate. As predicted, the main stage lineup has thinned. And one candidate has decided to bow out of the debate altogether.
Via Fox News:
Fox Business Network on Monday announced the candidate line-up for the Jan. 14 Republican presidential debates.
The participants qualifying for the prime-time, 9 p.m. ET debate are:
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
The participants qualifying for the earlier, 6 p.m. ET debate are:
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul; former HP CEO Carly Fiorina; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
The line-up was decided based on the results of national, New Hampshire and Iowa polling. To qualify for the prime-time debate, a candidate had to place in the top six in an average of recent national polls, or in the top five in an average of recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls.
Rand Paul had previously suggested he would not participate if relegated to the undercard debate, and today he made good on that promise. As Paul told CNN:
“I’ll be taking my campaign directly to New Hampshire and Iowa. I’m not going to be in South Carolina,” he said. “It’s a mistake because the thing is we actually have been in the top five or six in most of the recent polls. In fact, last week in a national poll we were just one point out of fourth place. So I think it’s a mistake to try to exclude me from the national debate.”
Paul said previously he would skip any debate that excluded him from the main event.
“I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier because we have a first tier campaign,” he told Blitzer.
Meanwhile, am I the only one wondering how the heck John Kasich made it in the top tier?
So we’ll now have seven candidates on the main stage and three on the undercard. With just 21 days until the primary season kicks into full gear, it still feels like too many.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]