After some uncertainty over whether Kentucky Senator Rand Paul would be included in CNN’s main debate this Tuesday night, we now know that the senator will indeed appear on the main stage.
On Friday, Politico ran a story titled “Rand Paul could be booted from main debate stage” and it caused quite a scare among Paul fans. Thankfully, for Sen. Paul and his supporters, CNN has released the list of candidates worthy of the primetime debate and he made the cut.
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) December 13, 2015
The Paul campaign had asked CNN for a rule tweak so that he could be included in the debate, but it appears as though a recent Iowa poll is what saved Sen. Paul. A Fox News poll released Sunday showed Rand Paul polling at 5 percent in Iowa, enough to earn him a spot at the debate.
A report by the Boston Globe suggested that the Paul campaign may have called it quits if Rand were relegated to the undercard debate. The Globe apparently asked the senator if he would drop out of the race if he was sent to the low-polling debate, and got an unclear answer.
“We will make an announcement, on that, on Tuesday.”
The answer Sen. Paul gave to the Globe certainly made it sound like dropping out was a possibility. The Paul campaign has since clarified, saying that Rand wasn’t talking about dropping out.
As the Washington Post reported, Doug Stafford, one of Paul’s strategists, said that Paul was talking about what action he would take if he was not included in the main debate.
“He was actually talking about what he does if [he’s] not on the main stage,”
Rand Paul is currently polling at 2.2 percent, according to RCP’s average. Paul has so far failed to rise significantly in the polls despite the fact that he had a strong performance at the last debate, according to many analysts.
Paul’s campaign may be having a hard time due to the increasingly hawkish American public. Senator Paul is a libertarian-leaning Republican who doesn’t make a habit of advocating for war.
Many of the other Republican candidates are much more interested in going to war. Donald Trump, for instance, said that he “would hit them (ISIS) so hard and so fast that they wouldn’t know what happened.” Mr. Trump has also said that Iran’s nuclear program needs to be stopped with whatever means necessary.
After the recent terrorist attack in San Bernardino and the attacks in Paris, many Americans are ready for a fight. That may partly explain the lack of support for a libertarian-leaning, generally anti-war senator.
Former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee, will be leaving the main debate stage and heading to the earlier debate with the other low-polling candidates. In the earlier debate, Huckabee will be joined by Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, and George Pataki. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is returning to the prime time debate.
Taking center stage will once again be billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump. To his left will be Texas Senator Ted Cruz who is currently in second place nationally. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who’s in third, will be to Trump’s right.
Previous GOP debates this year have attracted record-setting amounts of viewers. While the candidates receive excellent exposure, the debates have appeared to not significantly influence poll numbers.
[Photo by Jeffrey Phelps/AP]