CNBC released the candidates’ criteria on Wednesday for its upcoming televised October 28 Republican presidential debate, the third of the 2016 election season. The contest, titled “Your Money, Your Vote: The Presidential Debate on the Economy,” will feature Chuck Todd from NBC’s Meet the Press as a moderator and is set to take place at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo.
Though initial reports suggested that CNBC might forego having a second-tier debate for candidates who fail to qualify for the main stage, the news network has confirmed that it will indeed offer an undercard round, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. EST. CNBC’s prime time debate will kick off afterwards at 8:00 p.m. EST.
CNBC wrote in an announcement on the debate’s criteria, “National polls will be used to determine a candidate’s eligibility and placement on the stage. To be eligible to appear in either segment, a candidate must have at least 1% in any one of the methodologically sound and recognized national polls conducted by: NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and Bloomberg, released between September 17, 2015 and October 21, 2015.”
The announcement continued, “To appear in the 8pm debate a candidate must have an average of 3% among these polls. The polls will be averaged and will be rounded up to 3% for any candidate with a standing of 2.5% or higher. Candidates who average below that will be invited to the 6pm debate.”
NBC News pointed out as an example that “based only on this week’s NBC News/WSJ poll,” “Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Chris Christie” would qualify for the main stage, “Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal” would only qualify for the second-tier stage, and “Lindsey Graham, George Pataki and Jim Gilmore” would fail to qualify for either round.
CBS News’ Reena Flores wrote, “The CNBC criteria could also spell danger for one Republican contender teetering on the edge of the first tier debate stage: Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Paul’s current poll numbers average at 2.8 percent — enough to round up to 3 percent and secure a spot in the primetime debate. But two new polls at 2 percent would be all it takes to shove Paul into CNBC’s earlier debate.”
Senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign sounded an optimistic tone about the criteria in comments to Breibart, noting that Paul’s current polling results are on pace to qualify him for inclusion on the debate’s main stage.
“We are pleased that Senator Rand Paul will be on the main stage in Colorado. We look forward to seeing him present a clear vision for liberty later this month,” said Paul campaign communications director Sergio Gor.
For more election coverage, click here.