Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulHillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment Trump upends controversial surveillance fight Former impeachment managers clash over surveillance bill MORE (R-Ky.) wants CNN to tweak the rules for its upcoming GOP presidential debate to ensure that he makes it to the main stage.

Based on recent polling, Paul risks being pushed to the undercard debate for CNN’s Dec. 15 event.


But citing CNN’s last debate in September, when it amended the rules two weeks before the event in a move that allowed Carly Fiorina onto the mainstage, Paul is signaling he may fight to keep a top spot.

“We think if they give us the same treatment that Carly Fiorina was given last time, that you measure from debate to debate, that we do meet the criteria,” Paul said Friday night on Fox News, after host Eric Bolling asked him about the possibility he’ll be confined to the earlier debate with the lower-polling candidates.

“I have every expectation that I will be treated fairly. But I want the same and equal treatment that other candidates have gotten in the past,” he said. “We have a first-tier campaign and we don't plan on being labeled by the mainstream media anything less.”

Under the rules CNN has set for its Dec. 15 debate, any candidate polling at an average of 3.5 percent nationally will be in the primetime debate, while the remaining candidates will be in the earlier one. Additionally, anyone reaching 4 percent in the early polling states of New Hampshire or Iowa will be on the main stage.

Paul currently has 4 percent in Iowa, according to RealClearPolitics’ aggregation of polls. But additional surveys could push him below the threshold.

The tweak from CNN that allowed Fiorina to participate in the last debate extended the amount of time in which polls could be considered, stretching back to the previous GOP debate in August.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former New York Gov. George Pataki are the other candidates currently expected for the undercard debate.

Getting a coveted primetime slot could give Paul a needed boost to his campaign and a much larger viewership than the earlier event.