Many in the media are saying that the first GOP primary debate on Fox News on August 6 will be a ratings bonanza for the network. It will be Americans the first look at the bevy of presidential candidates all together and, presumably, interacting. They’re also interested in seeing who makes it to the stage given that only 10 candidates will be able to participate in the primetime debate. Additionally, Fox has opened up it’s pre-debate forum to all announced candidates.
Fox News is opening its 5 p.m. debate to all the announced Republican candidates who fail to make the cut for the Aug. 6 prime-time event, removing a requirement that participants reach at least 1 percent in polling.
The change amounts to an insurance policy for candidates who were in danger of being disqualified from the vital first debate based on low polls – Carly Fiorina, former New York Gov. George Pataki and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
The announcement by Michael Clemente, Fox News Executive Vice President, News, means that all 16 announced candidates will qualify for Cleveland — either the 5 p.m. undercard, or the 9 p.m. main event.
The 9 p.m. debate will include the 10 candidates with the highest average in national polls, as determined by Fox News. The 5 p.m. forum will now include all the rest.
According to a POLITICO analysis of the latest national polling, the prime-time participants today would be Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Rick Perry.
Soon we’ll see if Donald Trump can really perform on policy and specifics or just continue the name-calling the media loves so much.