CNN is revising its criteria for selection which Republican candidate can participate in the “top-tier” debate on Sept. 16 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif.
The changes could mean that Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, will be among the candidates in the primetime telecast.
In a statement, CNN said they will give greater consideration to candidates who have improved their standing since the last presidential debate on Aug. 6.
The network originally planned to select the participants in the top-tier debate from among those who placed in the top 10 of national polls conducted between July 16 and Sept. 10.
But there have been fewer national polls conducted in that time frame than in previous elections.
“In a world where we expected there to be at least 15 national polls, based on historic precedent, it appears there will be only five,” CNN said. “As a result, we now believe we should adjust the criteria to ensure the next debate best reflects the most current state of the national race.”
Instead, they will include candidates who have placed in the top 10 since Aug. 7.
Fiorina didn’t make the cut for Fox News’ top-tier debate, but delivered what was considered a standout showing at an earlier debate on Aug. 6 for candidates who placed too low in the polls to make it to the prime event. Since then, her standing in the polls has risen.
“Huge news: I’m in the debate,” Fiorina said in a tweet on Tuesday. She thanked fellow candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump for speaking out “in support of a fair debate process.”
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, praised CNN “for recognizing the historic nature of this debate and fully support the network’s decision to amend their criteria.”