After Protests, CNN Changes Criteria For Republican Debate

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

After protests from supporters of presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, CNN said Tuesday it will revise the criteria determining which Republicans will occupy the 10 spots in its primetime debate Sept. 16 in California.

Though Fiorina has surged into the top 10 in national polls since her performance in the Fox News happy hour debate Aug. 6, it was likely, under the original rules, that she would be excluded from CNN’s main debate. That was because the network was planning to include older polls.

On Tuesday, CNN said it would include only polls since the last debate. “Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10 will be included,” the network said.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus offered support for the change. “I applaud CNN for recognizing the historic nature of this debate and fully support the network’s decision to amend their criteria,” he said in a statement.

While good news for Fiorina, it might bump others, like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, to the earlier debate rather than at primetime at the Reagan Library.

Earlier Tuesday, a group of Fiorina supporters petitioned CNN president Jeff Zucker in a letter released to the media: “Carly Fiorina is a top tier candidate in this race. She won the last debate and has been in the top 10 in every poll released this month. To ensure a fair and representative process, your network should seat her alongside the other candidates polling in the top 10.”

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