While other GOP candidates, such as Carly Fiorina, have built on a successful debate performance and are hoping to move into primetime on September 16, some others are at risk of falling into the “kids table” debate earlier in the evening. There are at least two major candidates who are fighting for relevance and trying to stay in the top ten but currently sit on the cusp of being downgraded.
Report on Chris Christie from Politico:
Chris Christie, the voluble New Jersey governor, is once again facing the possibility that he might be relegated to the junior varsity debate — and rival Republican campaigns and outside observers say his window to re-enter the top tier of presidential candidates is closing fast.
Wednesday night’s scene in New Hampshire showed the daunting challenge ahead of Christie. As CNN, Fox News and MSNBC covered Trump’s first town hall live — breaking only to run clips of Jeb Bush attacking the real estate tycoon — Christie was gasping for air on C-SPAN. Because the governor’s dimly lit event — a town hall at a restaurant outside of Manchester — was outdoors, the few viewers watching saw the candidate gradually disappear into darkness. The next day’s headlines duly focused on the Jeb-Donald contretemps, ignoring Christie’s play for a state he has made central to his fading White House hopes.
“He’s just not getting the traction that I think he was expecting,” said Andy Seale, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.
According to the current polling average, Christie has dropped to number eleven with no floor in sight.
Rand Paul is facing similar struggles, though he’s in a little better shape than Christie. Having won the ability to legally run for President and re-election to his Senate seat at the same time, Paul will be soldiering on while his poll numbers continue to soften. Report from the Washington Post:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) kicked off a week-long swing across Alaska and Western states by answering an unwelcome question: Why was he falling in the polls? Why was he still attacking Donald Trump, if voters weren’t paying him back with support?
“I think if you look closely at the poll numbers, our numbers actually shifted south before I ever attacked him,” said Paul in a conference call before his speech in Alaska’s biggest city. “We probably didn’t really go after his fake conservative-ness for probably two months. During those two months, my numbers went down, and I think my numbers have stayed the same [since].”
Paul’s Western tour comes at the end of a mostly-horrible month, which was rescued only when the Republican Party of Kentucky cleared the way for him to run for his current job while seeking the White House. National media outlets (including this one) have taken turns writing pre-obituaries for his campaign. Polling has found him slipping toward the bottom of the tier that will qualify for next month’s CNN debate; just today, a Public Policy Polling survey of New Hampshire found Paul hitting 3 percent in a state where he’s led the field in endorsements and organizing.
I think it’s premature to write campaign obituaries this early in the game. We’re not even out of August yet which is typically a very, very slow month of vacations and summer fun. Few people are really plugged into the race yet. However, if Paul were to dip into the lower tier of polling and miss the primetime spot in September, it could be devastating for his campaign moving forward.