The Republican presidential candidates will hold their final debate before the primary voting begins. As is our custom, we’ll liveblog the proceedings. Please join me here and chime in with your own comments.
Rand Paul will not be there. He did not make the cut for the main event and has refused to appear on the undercard. The Fox business network, which is hosting the debate, set the criteria based on the polls of the preceding Monday. The results of a Wednesday poll would let him qualify, but the network is standing by its deadline.
Carly Fiorina will also go back to the undercard. On the main stage will be Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.
Meet me here at 8:00 Eastern Time! (I’ll start a new post for the liveblog.)
Rand Paul appears to be a victim of bad timing.
The Kentucky senator has failed to catch fire like some of his other fellow GOP presidential candidates, but Fox Business Network’s decision to boot him for the first time off the main stage at Thursday night’s debate in South Carolina was a potential knockout punch for his flailing candidacy.The network made that decision based on Paul’s standing in public polls. Fox Business had said last month that the top six candidates in the five most recent national polls as of Monday evening would make the main stage, joined by any other candidates who appeared in the top five in either Iowa or New Hampshire — the two states that vote first in the nominating process. Paul was in seventh place in all three averages, according to POLITICO’s calculations.
But a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll in Iowa released Wednesday morning has Paul at 5 percent — alone in fifth place. In fact, if the Des Moines Register poll is included on the list of the five most recent polls, it gets Paul into a tie for fifth place with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 4.2 percent. That, presumably, would get Paul onto the main stage.