Despite repeated calls this week to include the former Hewlett Packard executive, ABC News has stood by the decision leaving their rules in place which ends up excluding Carly Fiorina based on polling. Interestingly enough, the rules will include several candidates who finished behind Fiorina in Iowa, though are beating her in national polling and in New Hampshire polling.


Saturday, February 6, 2016
ABC News Republican Debate
8pm ET (7pm CT, 6pm MT, 5pm PT)

Live Stream:
Aired On: ABC
Location: Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire
Moderators: David Muir and Martha Raddatz


Report from CNN:

ABC announced Thursday that Carly Fiorina did not make the cut to appear at this weekend’s debate, despite calls from several prominent Republicans who wanted her on the New Hampshire stage.

The network announced that Saturday’s debate, which will not have an “undercard” event, will feature Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Cruz and Carson had joined former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earlier Thursday to call on ABC News to put Fiorina on the stage.

Romney and Gingrich pointed out that Fiorina outperformed Kasich and Christie in Iowa, but both men will still appear on stage Saturday.

“Hey @ABC: put @CarlyFiorina on the debate stage! She got more Iowa votes than John and Chris. Don’t exclude only woman,” Romney tweeted Thursday. The tweet was quickly blasted out by Fiorina’s campaign.

Later Thursday, the Texas senator also called on ABC and the Republican National Committee to include Fiorina in the event, saying it would be a “mistake” for her to be excluded.

“She has worked hard, won a diligent campaign,” Cruz told reporters in Weare, New Hampshire, adding that her presence on stage would be a “beneficial element.”

Carson joined the chorus Thursday evening, tweeting that candidates should all be included.

“With 9 Republicans left, I call on the RNC to get rid of arbitrary requirements for debates. Americans deserve to hear from every candidate,” Carson tweeted.

The criteria for the debate did not include any candidate who did not finish in the top-three in the Iowa caucuses or poll in the top six positions either nationally or in New Hampshire.

As an observer calling the shots here as I see them, I think ABC is in the wrong on this issue. We all just witnessed how abysmally wrong polling can be, yet it’s still being used to divide candidates and award debate slots by small differences in polling support.

At some point, the line had to be drawn as having more than ten candidates on stage was over the top. However, there are less than ten candidates remaining now, why not let them all debate? After all, this would be the last debate before the first in the nation primary.

Fiorina is sitting around ninth place nationally, but sitting at seventh place in New Hampshire. She finished seventh place in the Iowa caucus, enough to earn one delegate.

The rules are the rules, but it seems quite arbitrary given the imprecision in polling to essentially end a candidate’s campaign for them prior to the next contest coming up on Tuesday, February 9.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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