Yesterday, CNN announced that it has altered its debate-qualification rules to include any Republican candidate who enters the top 10 in the time between the previous debate and the debate on Sept. 16.
The rule change comes after some hard lobbying from Carly Fiorina’s campaign and her supporters, including an unlikely ally, fellow candidate Ben Carson.
Politico’s Katie Glueck reports that CNN succumbed to pressure from conservatives who argued that the previous debate format was intentionally excluding from the main stage candidates who are attractive to “conservative grassroots voters.”
In a letter to CNN president Jeff Zucker, prominent conservatives also called out the RNC for its silence on Fiorina’s exclusion from the debate, saying, “Its continued silence is tantamount to turning its back on Republican voters who overwhelmingly want to see Carly on the debate stage.”
The Sept. 16 debate will be formatted much like the first, with a so-called “kids’ table” and “grown-up table,” and will be moderated by CNN’s Jake Tapper.
If the last debate is any indication, Tapper can expect to be in for quite the evening. At the moment, the first debate will include Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, John Kasich and Fiorina, all vying for the coveted nomination.