By Ben Kamisar
Carly Fiorina misses debate stage
Carly Fiorina has missed the cut for Saturday’s GOP debate, making her the only major candidate remaining who won’t be on the stage.
ABC News will not host an undercard debate, so she will miss out entirely from the national spotlight just days before Tuesday’s New Hampshire primaries.
Fiorina, the only female candidate on the Republican side, failed to meet any prong of the network’s criteria. She did not finish within the top three in the Iowa caucuses, and is not averaging in the top six in polls both nationally and in New Hampshire.
ABC announced its debate lineup Friday afternoon, which includes Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Chris Christie. Jim Gilmore is the only other active GOP candidate to miss the cut along with Fiorina, but he rarely registers in most polls.
Fiorina had petitioned the Republican National Committee to step in and force her inclusion into the debate. The RNC did not return a request to comment on that request.
In her letter to the RNC, Fiorina noted that she finished higher than Christie and Kasich in Iowa while winning the same number of delegates—one—in the caucuses as Bush. She also pointed out that she’s raised more money and has more cash on hand than Christie and Kasich.
Cruz, New Hampshire Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte , 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney, and 2012 GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich all called on her to be included in the debate.
After four consecutive appearances in main stage debates, Fiorina missed the cut in each of the last two debates. But she at least remained on the national stage by virtue of the undercard debates.
It’s not the first time she’s tangoed with networks over debate criteria.
She successfully petitioned CNN to amend its criteria—effectively letting her onto the debate stage—after she pointed out that it weighed polls from before the party’s first debate equally with polls after that debate. Fiorina argued that her lauded performance in the August undercard debate jumpstarted her campaign, a fact evident in a dramatic rise at the polls, so she deserved a spot on the main stage.