Paul: I won’t participate in undercard debate
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Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulOvernight Healthcare: CBO predicts 22M would lose coverage under Senate ObamaCare replacement Fox News personality: GOP healthcare plan says ‘ideology is less important than victory' Rand Paul opens door to backing healthcare bill on key hurdle MORE (R-Ky.) says he won’t participate in the next Republican presidential debate if he fails to make the main stage.

“I won’t participate in any kind of second-tier debates,” Paul said on Fox News Radio's “Kilmeade & Friends” on Wednesday, as first reported by BuzzFeed News.

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“We’ve got a first-tier campaign. I’ve got 800 precinct chairmen in Iowa. I’ve got 100 people on the ground working for me. I’ve raised $25 million. I’m not gonna let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign,” he added.

“I frankly just won’t be told by the media which tier I’m in, and we’re not willing to accept that, because we’re a first-tier campaign, and we’re in it to win it, and we won’t be told that we’re in a tier that can’t win.”

Criteria for the next Republican primary debate, hosted by Fox Business Network on Jan. 14, may relegate some candidates previously on the main stage to the second billing.

According to an analysis by The Hill, the next top-tier debate could shrink to six candidates, leaving out GOP candidates like Paul, Carly Fiorina, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. 

The Fox Business Network debate allows three avenues for candidates to qualify for the main debate stage.

Participants must place in the top six in an average of five recent national polls, or top five in an average of recent polls from Iowa or New Hampshire.

Currently, according to RealClearPolitics averages, the top six Republican candidates nationally — Donald TrumpDonald TrumpDem senator: Pardoning targets of Russia probe would be 'crossing a fundamental line' Trump lawyers looking into special counsel's potential conflicts of interest: reports Trump lawyers asking about presidential pardon powers: report MORE, Sens. Ted CruzTed CruzCruz offers bill to weaken labor board's power Overnight Finance: GOP offers measure to repeal arbitration rule | Feds fine Exxon M for Russian sanctions violations | Senate panel sticks with 2017 funding levels for budget | Trump tax nominee advances | Trump unveils first reg agenda The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Texas) and Marco RubioMarco RubioBush ethics lawyer: Congress must tell Trump not to fire Mueller The private alternative to the National Flood Insurance Program  Cruz offers bill to weaken labor board's power MORE (Fla.), Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — are in the top five in either Iowa or New Hampshire or both.

Paul had been on the chopping block for CNN's December debate, failing to qualify based off of the criteria the network had previously announced. But CNN decided to include him on the main debate stage without much explanation, chalking it up to new polling released just ahead of the announcement of the debate lineup and "in the spirit of being as inclusive as possible."