Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Christie, Huckabee relegated to undercard at next GOP debate

NEWARK, N.J. — Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee have been bumped from the main stage at next week's GOP presidential debate, while George Pataki and Lindsey Graham have been cut from the lineup altogether.

Debate sponsor Fox Business Network announced the moves Thursday evening, dealing a major blow to all four candidates, particularly Christie, the New Jersey governor, and Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, as they struggled to stand out in the crowded Republican field amid signs of momentum in states where the first primary contests will be held.

The decision underscores concerns about the pivotal role that national opinion surveys have been playing in shaping the contest for the GOP nomination. Statistically, pollsters say, there is no significant difference between candidates lumped together near the bottom of the pack in national polls, which often have a margin of error of 3 percentage points or more.

"I tell people, 'Ignore the national polls and just follow those early states,' " said Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who argues that early opinion surveys are notoriously unreliable. "Except that now national polls drive the debates, and debates drive the polling."

According to debate criteria issued by Fox Business, candidates must score 2.5 percent or higher in an average of the four most recent major polls conducted through Wednesday to be featured in the prime-time debate. They must hit the 1 percent mark to qualify for an undercard debate airing before the main event.

As a result of the new standards, the prime-time affair will feature eight candidates.

The prime-time lineup: businessman Donald Trump, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former technology executive Carly Fiorina, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. The undercard event features: Christie, Huckabee, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Pataki, the former New York governor, and Graham, a South Carolina senator, already faced a tough road to the GOP nomination. Their omission from the undercard debates will make it even harder for them to convince voters that they have a viable path to the nomination.

Christie, Huckabee relegated to undercard at next GOP debate 11/05/15 [Last modified: Thursday, November 5, 2015 10:25pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Joe Henderson: Other good works can't balance theft from vulnerable victims

    Columns

    What price can you put on your good name?

    This renovated group home once was operated by HARC. The group's former CEO Richard Lilliston was credited with raising millions for the agency but has been sentenced to prison for stealing Social Security from clients with developmental disabilities. [Times file]
  2. Five reasons why Kentucky can beat Florida for the first time since 1986

    College

    By Matt Baker

    GAINESVILLE — Florida's 30-game winning streak over Kentucky is one of the most impressive feats in the country.

    Florida Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey (73) celebrates Florida Gators running back Mark Thompson's  (24) touch down in the first quarter, putting Florida on the board 6-0 during the game between the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Kentucky 45-7. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

  3. Once targeted by the Bucs, Dalvin Cook thrills for the Vikings

    Bucs

    How good would the Bucs be with running back Dalvin Cook?

    Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) slips a tackle by Steelers strong safety Sean Davis (28) to score a touchdown Sunday in Pittsburgh. [AP photo]
  4. Review: More than 20 years later, 'RENT' still matters

    Stage

    TAMPA — Two decades after Rent shook up Broadway with a starkly joyous musical that demanded to be recognized, a nostalgic tour is taking audiences back.

    The 20th anniversary tour of RENT, shown in 2016, comes to the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts Sept. 19-24, 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  5. Dennis Miller, headed to Tampa with Bill O'Reilly: 'We don't know each other that well'

    Events

    Dennis Miller often gets cast as the odd comic out these days.

    Dennis Miller will perform with Bill O'Reilly at the Spin Stops Here Tour at Amalie Arena in Tampa. [Spuffy Productions]