Rand Paul’s Campaign Thinks He Will Back On Primetime Debate Stage

REUTERS/Chris Keane

Alex Pappas Political Reporter

After being excluded from the last primetime debate, [crscore]Rand Paul[/crscore]’s campaign thinks he will get a podium for this week’s televised showdown of Republican presidential candidates before the Iowa caucuses.

The Kentucky senator’s campaign is publicizing polls that indicate Paul will likely make the cut for Thursday evening’s debate sponsored by Fox News in Des Moines.

“It is clear that Sen. Paul has been solidly within the top five in Iowa for many weeks,” said Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief strategist. “This despite a virtual media blackout in Iowa and being banned from the main stage last debate.”

According to the debate sponsor, “In order to qualify for the primetime debate, candidates must place in the top six spots nationally in an average of the five most recent national polls, or place within the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire in an average of the five most recent Iowa or New Hampshire polls recognized by FOX News.”

Fox is expected to announce the participants on Tuesday.

Paul’s campaign is emphasizing that the last two reputable polls, conducted by the American Research Group and Quinnipiac, have Paul in fifth place in Iowa, as does the the Real Clear Politics polling average.

Paul’s Iowa numbers are important: he doesn’t appear to make the cut nationally (where the Real Clear Politics polling average shows him in 10th place) or in New Hampshire (where the average shows him in 7th place).

“Without question, Sen. Paul deserves to be in the next debate,” Stafford argues. “It would be a travesty to exclude him again when it should be clear to everyone now that what we have be saying all along is true: Rand is a top five candidate with a top tier campaign.”

Paul wasn’t invited to the last primetime debate, hosted by Fox Business in South Carolina. He rejected an invitation to participate in the so-called undercard debate for candidates who didn’t make the main stage.

Follow Alex on Twitter