CNN Debate Has A New Guest: Carly Fiorina

New GOP debate rules will allow Carly Fiorina to join the stage for September 16 debate.

CNN has changed its criteria for its upcoming Republican presidenatial debate allowing for former HP executive Carly Fiorina to take the primetime stage. Tuesday’s announcement comes on the heels of Fiorina arguing that CNN’s older criteria, which took the placement of the top 10 candidates from polls conducted weeks before the August 6 debate on Fox News on through September 10, improperly weighted early leaders – such as Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul – who have seen their early leads diminish since the first national debate.

Now, CNN is saying that any candidate who ranks in the top 10 between August 6 and September 10 will be included in the primetime debate on September 16. This means the final placements won’t be known until after all the qualified national polls have come in. Since the first debate just under a month ago, Fiorina has seen her numbers rise, placing her now in 7th, just behind Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who’s been trending down, with the latest polls. Donald Trump has enjoyed a commanding lead in each of the polls.

“In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7th and September 10th, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16th and September 10th,” CNN said in its statement. “We have discussed these changes with the Republican National Committee and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, and they are fully supportive.”

The new format was announced in a conference call with representatives from all Republican campaigns on Tuesday afternoon.

“We learned this week that there will likely be only two more polls by the deadline of September 10th. 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. 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,” the CNN statement continued.

CNN said it expects two additional national polls to be released between now and the September 10 deadline, making it difficult for Fiorina to fall out of the post-debate top 10.

On Twitter, Sarah Isgur-Flores, Fiorina’s deputy campaign manager, praised the move by CNN, saying they have been pushing for this for two week.


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