Fox Business Network has raised the bar for candidates to qualify for the next GOP debate in January, and only those who place in the top six nationally, or top five in Iowa or New Hampshire based on polls recognized by Fox News, will qualify for the main stage. The others will be relegated to the undercard debate as long as they are polling at least one percent.
Four candidates have a probable lock on the main stage. They are Trump, Cruz, Rubio and Carson. That leaves Christie, Bush, Fiorina, Paul and Kasich to fight for the remaining slots, and avoid joining Huckabee, Santorum and Pataki for the undercard debate.
Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore is still in the race, but because he has been poling at zero percent, he won’t be included in either debate.
After five GOP debates the winnowing of the field is long overdue. Now, if they would only drop the undercard debate altogether.
The previous Fox Business debate featured eight candidates on the main stage and four on the undercard, and drew a network record 13.5 million viewers.