Rand Paul blasted Fox News for new criteria that might exclude him from the next top-tier Republican presidential forum on Jan. 14. If he’s kept out, Paul said that he would not attend the so-called undercard debate that will take place shortly beforehand.
“I won’t participate in any kind of second-tier debate,” the Kentucky senator said in a Wednesday interview on a Fox News radio program hosted by “Fox and Friends” co-host Brian Kilmead.
Paul said he should not be consigned to the “kids table” due to his strong field organization in Iowa in preparation for the state’s caucuses which are held Feb. 1.
“We’ve got a first-tier campaign. I’ve got 800 precinct chairman in Iowa. I’ve got a 100 people on the ground working for me. I’ve raised 25 million dollars. I’m not gonna let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign.”
The first-term senator said that the Republican Party was making a grave mistake by effectively giving television news organizations the power to determine who its candidates are.
“If you tell a campaign with three weeks to go that they’re in the second-tier, you destroy the campaign. This isn’t the job of the media to pick who wins. The voters ought to get a chance.”
Paul blasted the idea that an aggregation of polling averages was reliable enough to actually determine who should be considered top-tier since many of the candidates are well within any survey’s margin of error. According to the senator, his support at this moment is just 0.3 points below the cut-off mark.
“But, frankly, if we beat Chris Christie by 0.3 and he’s excluded, as much as I disagree with him politically I think that’s a mistake,” the senator stated. “The same way with [Carly] Fiorina. There’s no reason why people should be told that they have no chance with three weeks to go.”
Paul’s remarks were first reported by Buzzfeed.
Several political experts such as the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato have argued that polling averages are inaccurate when measuring lesser-known candidates and that a better debate system would be to simply split the total number of candidates in two and then randomly assign aspirants to each group.
Photo by Gage Skidmore
A writer, television producer, and cybersecurity consultant, Matthew Sheffield is a Bold contributor. He currently is a producer and reporter at The Hill's video division, Hill.TV.