Who Isn't In The Primetime GOP Debate? The Fourth Showdown Will Feature Fewer Podiums
Two fewer podiums will be onstage at the next GOP debate. The fourth debate will be held at the Milwaukee Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and once again feature a main debate as well as a JV debate, which will also see a few shakeups. Who isn't in the primetime GOP debate? Two candidates have been placed in the pre-debate forum, to take place at 7 p.m. EST while three more were made ineligible for either event due to low polling numbers. Under host network Fox Business' requirements, candidates must have averaged 2.5 percent or more in the four most recent national polls to make it into the primetime debate or at least 1 percent in one of the polls to make it into the earlier event.
For the first time this election season, primetime debate mainstays Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie did not poll high enough to make it into the main event, settling in for an undercard run instead. CNN Money had been predicting Christie's ineligibility since Wednesday, citing a cumulative average of just 2.25 percent in Fox Business-approved polls. It was confirmed on Thursday that both Christie and Huckabee had cumulative polling averages of 2.25 percent, putting them a quarter of a percent away from being eligible for the main debate. The two candidates will join Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal for the earlier debate. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore once again failed to make either debate, while Lindsey Graham and George Pataki became ineligible for either debate for the first time.
Only eight candidates will be onstage by the time the primetime debate kicks off at 9 p.m. EST. Those candidates, in order of polling numbers, include Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Rand Paul, the latter having only just made the 2.5 percent eligibility. Fox Business has stated that its requirements for this debate were more stringent than previous ones. The network has also built in more time for candidates, allowing a full 90 seconds for presidential hopefuls to answer questions and a solid minute to address their fellow candidates when mentioned by name.
Both Christie and Huckabee have responded to the news that did not make the primetime debate via Twitter, essentially echoing each other's messages. Huckabee said that he'd be willing to debate anyone at any time while Christie said it was less a matter of which stage he's on so long as he got the opportunity to discuss pressing issues. The candidates will do just that, simply at an earlier time and with far fewer presidential hopefuls around them.