Rand Paul Boycotts Fox Business Debate After Being Dropped to ‘Undercard’ Status

Rand Paul to Boycott Fox Business
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

The campaign of Rand Paul said that he plans to skip Thursday’s Republican debate on Fox Business Network after he failed to make the main stage and instead was assigned to an earlier “undercard” debate with Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.

“By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top tier campaign,” his campaign said in a statement. “He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa.”

Fox Business Network announced the lineup of participants on Monday, with the 9 p.m. ET primetime debate featuring Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and John Kasich. The network said that the lineup was based on the latest national, Iowa and New Hampshire polling.  To qualify, a candidate needed to be either among the top six in an average of the five most recent national polls, or among the top five in an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls.

Paul’s campaign said that CNN, CBS, Fox and Marist polls have had him in 5th or 6th place, and one had him “just a single point out of fourth.”

But in a memo, Fox Business Network outlined a host of reasons why it chose the polls it did. Among other things, “they are the most recent national and state polls from non-partisan, nationally-recognized organizations using standard methodological techniques.  Recency was determined by actual interview dates (not release date).” The complete criteria is here.

The network said that the six polls used in the national average were from Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP, FOX News, CNN/ORC, Quinnipiac University, ABC News/Washington Post, and Monmouth University. The six polls used in the Iowa average were done by American Research Group, Quinnipiac University, Fox News, NBC News/WSJ/Marist, Loras College, and The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg. For New Hampshire, polls from Monmouth University, American Research Group, Fox News, NBC News/WSJ/Marist, and Franklin Pierce/Boston Herald were used.