Fox Business Network on Monday announced the candidate lineup for the Jan. 14 Republican presidential debates – and already one candidate has said he will not participate after not qualifying for the prime-time event.
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.
However, the Paul campaign said Monday night it does not plan to participate.
This is the first time Paul has not qualified for a prime-time debate and his campaign, within minutes of the announcement, issued a statement complaining about the criteria.
“By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top tier campaign,” his campaign said. “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.”
The FBN debate lineup 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.
The debate comes as front-runner Trump faces a rising challenge from Cruz, particularly in the caucus state of Iowa where the two are effectively tied for the lead.
The changing dynamic has fueled new tensions in the race, with Trump now openly questioning whether Cruz’ Canadian birth complicates his eligibility to run.
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SOURCE: Fox News