In spite of some encouraging results in some recent polls, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn't make the cut for Republican main stage presidential debate hosted by the Fox Business Network and the Wall Street Journal next week. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will also be bumped from the main stage to the "undercard" debate.
The Republican presidential candidates who will participate in the main debate are businessman Donald Trump, physician Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Ted Cruz, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Rand Paul.
- National poll finds Carson and Trump in virtual tie
- Chris Christie's emotional plea for addiction treatment goes viral
Along with Christie and Huckabee, former Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will participate in the undercard debate for lower-polling candidates. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and former New York Gov. George Pataki, who participated in previous undercard debates, were bumped entirely from the Fox Business debate lineup.
To make the cut for the main debate stage, candidates had to have an average of 2.5 percent support in four recent polls -- polls from Fox News, Quinnipiac, Investor's Business Daily, and a poll from the Wall Street Journal and NBC.
Christie fell short, in spite of some recent relatively positive news. While he only received 3 percent support in this week's Quinnipiac poll, his favorability rate came in at 57 percent -- a marked improvement from a poll in March. Additionally, a poll out of New Hampshire showed that Christie's support in that key, early-nominating state has risen to 8 percent. Meanwhile, millions of people this week watched a video of Christie's emotional remarks regarding the problem of drug addiction.
In his response on Twitter to the news that he'll be bumped to the "undercard" debate, Christie linked again to those remarks.
To qualify for the undercard debate, candidates had to have at least 1 percent support in the four polls chosen by Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal.
Christian Ferry, Graham's campaign manager, said in a statement that regardless of his absence in next week's debate, "Senator Graham continues to be the foremost expert on foreign policy and national security in this field of candidates, on either stage... It is ironic that the only veteran in the race is going to be denied a voice the day before Veterans Day."
Ferry noted that one of the polls used to determine the debate participates -- the NBC/ Wall Street Journal poll -- only listed ten candidates as options rather than the full GOP field.
To ensure the Tuesday night debate is widely available, Fox Business Network has teamed up with cable and satellite providers nationwide to unbundle the channel for the event.