GOP debate line-ups revealed: Two bumped to second-tier, one will be no show

Fox Business Network announced its Republican presidential debate lineup Monday for Thursday’s meet-up, and one candidate announced he’ll be a no-show because he finds himself in the second tier for the first time.

The candidates could qualify for the prime-time debate in one of two ways:

One, by placing in the top six in an average of the five most recent national polls; or,

Two, by placing in the top five in an average of the five most recent polls in Iowa or New Hampshire.

The candidates who made the cut are real estate developer Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Fox Business tweeted:

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were scheduled for the second tier debate.

Paul, who found himself scheduled for the happy hour debate for the first time, announced on CNN Monday night that he planned on being a no-show.

Appearing on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Paul told host Wolf Blitzer, “I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier, because we have a first tier campaign.”

Watch the exchange via CNN.

Paul’s campaign released this statement:

By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top-tier campaign. He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa.

Multiple national polls including CNN, CBS, Fox, Marist and others have him in 5th or 6th place, one had him just a single point out of 4th.  In multiple polls he scores ahead of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Carly Fiorina. In yesterday’s Marist Iowa poll he was alone in 5th place. In fact his numbers are on the rise in recent weeks.

Even the pollsters are concerned that the media is using their polls incorrectly.  Polls are at best an estimation, and include a standard of error that the media and the RNC are ignoring. A poll number of five is no different from a poll number of 8 if the standard of error is +/- 3. To exclude candidates on faulty analysis is to disenfranchise the voter.

Creating “tiers” based on electoral results of real votes might make sense but creating “tiers” on bad science is irresponsible.

This race is hitting its final stretch and Rand Paul is in it to win it.  He is on the ballot in every state.  He has over 1000 precinct captains in Iowa and a huge 500 person leadership team in New Hampshire.

He is an important voice and has a unique message to share. He will hit the ground running this week to double down on his efforts to talk straight to the voters. See you in New Hampshire and Iowa.


This is the first time in memory that Paul has raised an objection to the two-tier debate system. Then again, this is the first time Paul has been placed on the second-tier.

Fiorina debated in the second tier during the candidates’ first match, but now finds herself in the happy hour lineup again.


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