'Tis the never-ending season of presidential debates, and the next one comes in the form of Tuesday's Republican primary debate. Surprisingly, the field is just one person less since the last GOP showdown on Nov. 10 — farewell, Bobby Jindal, the race misses thee not — which still makes competition for a primetime podium pretty tight. You might be wondering if Rand Paul will be in the GOP debate main card, and the answer is yes, Paul will be on stage in the far right — in mind and in body.
From the audience's POV, Paul will be flanked on the far right side of the stage, chiming in as much as he can to pull the spotlight from center stage candidates like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz. Though he didn't have the minimum 3.5 percent of national voter support, the Kentucky senator managed to scrounge up 5 percent in Iowa polls, which allowed him to qualify under CNN's expanded criteria. The network announced that any candidate that had at least 4 percent in polls for the Hawkeye State or New Hampshire would qualify for the primetime debate. Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Chris Christie also benefited from this state-based rule.
It's a lucky break for Paul, who, according to The Washington Post's calculations, qualified because his numbers were rounded up.
Tuesday could be a major turning point for his campaign. It's the last GOP debate of the year, and with 2016 just weeks away, the new year will mark a renewed look at the candidates. Paul is clearly in danger of being the next Republican voted off the island (or perhaps, more accurately, the next one nixed because he doesn't have enough votes). So, keep an eye on him during the debate, and see if Rand will still be standing after all of the televised drama settles down.