The third Republican debate, hosted by CNBC, is coming up on October 28. Following the first two GOP debates, which saw a split into two broadcasts and as many as eleven candidates on one stage, the Republican National Committee is under pressure to ensure that the number of candidates will be limited to a more reasonable number.

Report from Politico:

The uncertain terms of the next Republican debate are setting off a wave of anxiety among middle and bottom tier campaigns, with several lashing out at the Republican National Committee for failing to provide clarity on how many candidates will appear on stage.

The campaigns fear the entry criteria for the Oct. 28 debate are being designed to reduce the number of candidates on stage for the third primetime debate — a life-or-death matter for White House hopefuls on the bubble.

While the RNC doesn’t set the rules, it does have a voice in working with the networks running the debates. The committee has not said how many candidates will be allowed into the primetime debate, which will be held in Boulder, Colorado, and broadcast on CNBC. Nor are there any indications there will be an undercard event, as there have been in the first two debate showdowns of the primary season.

“With the next debate a month away, it is maddening that the RNC has yet to provide any guidance to campaigns regarding the criteria that they and CNBC plan to use to exclude candidates,” said Curt Anderson, an adviser to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who appeared in both undercards. In the spin room after CNN recent debate, Jindal spokesperson Gail Gitcho said they already had plans to speak with CNBC in order to keep Jindal on the stage.

A senior adviser to another Republican candidate also expressed suspicion that the party was looking to winnow the field of candidates. “Insiders in Washington want to limit the debates because they want their two favorites, Bush and Rubio, to take on Donald Trump,” the adviser said. “They’re whispering in [RNC Chairman] Reince Priebus’s ear that, ‘The stage is too big, make it smaller.’” [Emphasis added]

The radio silence extends beyond the entry criteria to other aspects of the debate — such as who the moderators will be, and how long the duration will be.

“Campaigns simply want to know — what’s the criteria, and what’s the format.” said Chris LaCivita, an adviser to Rand Paul.

The candidates have a valid point that the decision making process of who makes up the rules to include or exclude candidates is murky and opaque. For the first two events, Fox News and CNN came up with their own rules, the latter of which were bent to include Carly Fiorina in the second debate under a special addendum.

As a result, candidates such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal are now inquiring about the next event given that two candidates have dropped out meaning if existing rules are in place, there could be a different list of the top ten candidates on stage come October 28.

At some point, the field will narrow, and Scott Walker’s departure was the first major exit of the race. Rumors that Rand Paul may be following would surely shake up the debate lineup but, at this point, we don’t know if CNBC is following the same “top ten” candidate rules as were used by Fox News and CNN.

I’m assuming we may get some answers later this week or into next week about the criteria CNBC will use when extending invitations to candidates.


A little more on this from Mediaite:

The previous two debates featured ten and eleven candidates, but moderator Chuck Todd hinted in an interview with ESPN that he plans to limit the number of podiums. “Let’s just say the goal is to create a threshold that candidates have to meet to qualify for the stage rather than committing to putting 10 candidates on the stage. And I don’t think we should commit to more than 10-candidate debates. You have to be viable.”

Todd went on to give some hypothetical debate standards that could size down the number of spots, including limiting the debate to those who earned at least 5% in New Hampshire or Iowa. Under that standard, candidates like Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie who made it into previous debates would not qualify without a bump in their poll numbers. [Emphasis added]

There are also currently no plans to introduce an earlier second-tier debate to accommodate candidates who could not make the primetime debate. “I doubt there will be an undercard,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said on CNN the day after the second debate.

That is a glimpse into what we may be seeing for this debate. The undercard debate has worn thin and it’s time to pull the plug on that. However, a five percent threshold would certainly create a smaller number of candidates and would be sure to ruffle some feathers. Stay tuned.


  1. “Rumors that Rand Paul may be following [exit race]” are just that — asinine rumors!

    Rand Paul will never give up being a Patriot — no wonder the Establishment and their Media want to eliminate him (like they did his father, Ron Paul)!

    Rand Paul had the best say in Senate on why not to fund Obama’s Gov:

    Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, on Tuesday endorsed a partial government shutdown as a way to gain leverage over Obama:

    “Why don’t we start out with the negotiating position that we defund everything that’s objectionable, all the wasteful spending, all the duplicative spending, let’s defund it all and if there has to be negotiation, let’s start from defunding it
    all and see where we get,” Paul said in a Senate speech.

    “But it would take courage, because you have to let spending expire,” he [Rand Paul] said. “If you’re not willing to let the spending expire and start anew, you
    have no leverage.”

    But, old-guard RINO Mitch McConnell is focused on protecting his 2016
    re-election class, not the American People!


    *McConnell’s old-school style could make him GOP conservatives’ next target*

    “COULD”…? LOL — way behind reality. Already has by the Tea Party Patriots — The SAME day (9-25) the Obama and Nancy Pelosi deal-making-ass-kissing traitor of the Republic, BOEHNER, got his walking papers, the other enabler of the pernicious Obama Admin and thus another US traitor — Mitch McConnell — was served with his upcoming walking papers to get the Hell out of his accommodating pernicious Obama acquiescence as Leader of the Senate:

    Sign and make this petition viral !!!

    • Rand should have been the anti-establishment candidate at the outset, but Trump sucked all the air out of the room.

      Funny that Trump is saying people like Fiorina were paid WAY out of line with any contribution they may (or may not have) made to a company. As a candidate, she has all of Romney’s baggage and is not as likable.

      Anyway, I think when dopes like Huck and Christie and Cruz and Graham and Jindal give up, Rand will shine. Is Santorum seriously still campaigning???

        • “Furthermore, as Surfisher points out, McConnell is near-universally hated by the GOP base” — spot on!

          Why else would an obscure petition to remove Mitch-the-neocon-scumbag-McConnell from power, garner over 13,000 votes in 5 days!

          If you are an American Patriot and haven’t yet voted to Fire Obama-loving Mitch McConnell — do so now, and make this petition viral.

        • Nate — you are correct.

          Rand Paul saw the travesty perpetrated by the RNC Old-guard Establishment against his father, Ron Paul, in 2012 — beating up his supporters in Louisiana, cheating by falsely changing electorates in nearly all states, shutting off the AC in the Nevada convention, and list of the GOP and the Mainstream Media perfidies perpetrated against Patriot Ron Paul goes on to make a best seller!

          So, he cut a deal with fellow Kentuckian — the RINO Mitch McConnell — to support him in his losing battle of what should have been fellow Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin win… in exchange for Mitch McConnell’s support of Rand Paul running for president.

          McConnell hired late in the campaign (after seeing he was behind) the biggest hatchet-men the GOP has, to destroy with lies his Tea Party opponent, and with Rand’s endorsement, he succeeded!

          “How Mitch McConnell crushed the tea party”:

          So, Rand Paul made a deal with the devil — to avoid the prescribed political death his father received being a true patriot!

          Only time will tell if Rand can divorce himself from the scum he supported — Mitch McConnell — and recapture his father’s followers, who want a Real Tea Party Patriot as President that obeys the US Constitution without any qualifications, thus returning Freedom and Prosperity to our suffering Nation, BACK!

  2. Breaking News: Hillary Clinton is finally FINISHED as of today! The 2nd most vile

    creature in America — Hillary — just got nailed to the wall, thus ending her Narcissistic Dream of becoming US Queen!

    From the article below *Clinton Emails Had a Two-Month Gap*:

    “She violated the Federal Records Act through her scheme of using only a
    personal account and compounding that with use of a private server—and
    now, it appears, in an additional way by shutting down BlackBerry
    accounts that contained her official emails for several weeks at the
    outset of her tenure….”

    • I don’t know why you’re so excited. Having Hillary as their standard bearer would mean defeat for the Dems. You should be wishing her well at this point.

      • What an idiotic post.

        Let only patriots run for the presidency — not human-trash scumbags like Hillary (that would be an insult to our nation) — and the one that defends the US Constitution best, be the winner.

        Bernie vs Rand is it.

        • I didn’t say it was smart. I said I thought it’s what YOU would want.

          Remember, a few weeks ago, you were calling Trump a “patriot,” and a lot of other wonderful things. Now, you’re praising Bernie.

          • Which part of my postings for several years that Hillary Clinton belongs IN JAIL, not running for Prez…did you miss, silly kid — for you to post this asinine idiocy: “Having Hillary as their standard bearer would mean defeat for the Dems. You should be wishing her well at this point”…?!

            And which part of my previous posts that while I respect Bernie, I totally disagree with him; and while I agree with Trump, I have no respect for him… did you also miss?!

            Goethe, start taking your Ginkgo-Biloba before posting….

            • You are hard to take seriously. You have almost zero sense of humor. You almost never post without being abusive to another poster. You seldom provide evidence for your assertions. And never seem to consider another person’s viewpoint–except to scream at them (or imperiously pat them on the head). You’re certainly not a stable individual.

              Try counting to ten and then count to ten again, and see if you can find a way to post that is not just obnoxious.

  3. I think to divide the gop hopefuls like cnbc has proposed is not right. I also thought it was unnecessary by cnn to exclude some of the ones with low polls from their early debate. This year these debates generates ratings, why not let all the candidates that are running in ?

    And instead of having an overcrowded prime time event, split the group in half, for instance using poll averages and then send the debates two consecutive days, both prime time. And if the networks don’t want to do that, don’t give them the debates. After all it’s essentially free programming, the candidates don’t get any compensation from the networks for participating other than the airtime, at least they should all get a fair chance as long as they’re still campaigning.

    I don’t see a problem with many canidates, I think it shows strength and promotes democracy within the party. The democratic election do not seem to have the same momentum, as a consequence I don’t think that many people cares about their debate.

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