The next debate is rapidly approaching and the GOP field has been morphing since the last throw-down on May 5th in South Carolina. Several news stories out recently about which candidates might attend, which might not and which are begging for an invite.
Reminder: Airtime is 8pm Eastern time on CNN – June 13th, 2011
First, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has committed to the June 13th debate:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he will attend the CNN/ WMUR-TV/ New Hampshire Union Leader debate on June 13, 2011 Manchester, N.H. In announcing his participation Pawlenty said he looked forward to discussing his vision for growing the economy, cutting spending and creating jobs.
No surprise for Pawlenty, I’m expecting Santorum, Paul, Cain and Johnson to also attend assuming Johnson meets the minimum requirements. We’ll likely see Gingrich as well, perhaps even Bachmann and Romney if we play our cards right.
Second, former Utah Governor and former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman says he will not participate in the June 13th debate despite speculation that he may soon announce a candidacy:
Jon Huntsman won’t participate in a presidential debate scheduled for June 13 in New Hampshire — and he won’t announce his decision about whether to run until after that date.
Huntsman is still conducting “due diligence” and thinking about a run, aides said.
“Governor Huntsman will be spending the next few weeks continuing the due diligence process in line with the very short decision-making timetable he has laid out. He will not be participating in any debates until after that process is over and he formally announces his intentions. That announcement will not come before the June 13th debate,” said Paul Collins, Huntsman’s chief consultant in New Hampshire.
The ABC News/WMUR debate, originally scheduled for June 7, is now set for June 13.
Huntsman is an unknown in the race at this point and due to his libertarian leanings on topics such as gay marriage and drug laws, I don’t think he will make an impact should he choose to announce. That niche is currently filled by Ron Paul and Gary Johnson.
Finally, little-known political consultant, actor and gay-rights activist Fred Karger is also running for the GOP nomination in 2012 and is begging CNN for an invitation:
The Fred Karger 2012 campaign has sent an email to CNN executives, asking them to “Let Fred In” to its New Hampshire debate on June 13.
In addition to the memorandum sent by Karger, the campaign is encouraging its supporters to contact CNN directly to further press the case for Karger’s inclusion in the Republican debate.
Something tells me he isn’t going to get it only because he is not registering on national polls. Last month, in the May 5th GOP debate, Fox News required the candidates to have filed their candidacies and be garnering at least 1% in an average of national polls. I haven’t seen Karger breaking that 1% mark so unless CNN has drastically different guidelines, don’t expect to see Karger on the stage in Manchester.