Carly Fiorina’s chances of participating with top-tier contenders in the next Republican presidential debate got an important boost Tuesday.
CNN, the host of the Sept. 16 debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, announced it will alter the criteria, a change that could make it easier for the former business executive to participate.
Fiorina has been climbing in some recent polls. But there haven’t been many. CNN reported that since the last debate August 6, only three national surveys have been conducted.
In May, CNN said it would use the average of approved national polls from July 16 through September 10.
“At the time, we expected there to be many more national polls following the first Republican debate, in August, than there appears there will be,” CNN said in a statement
So it will make this change: “In the event that any candidate is polling in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls released between August 7 and September 10, we will add those candidates to our top tier debate, even if those candidates did not poll in the top 10 in an average of approved national polls between July 16 and September 10.” August 7 was the day after the first debate.
The network said in a statement it expected there will probably be only two more polls before September 10.
“In a world where we expected there to be at least 15 national polls, based on historic precedent, it appears there will be only five,” CNN said. “As a result, we now believe we should adjust the criteria to ensure the next debate best reflects the most current state of the national race.”
The change should make it easier for candidates who are becoming better known, and more popular, to qualify for the top tier debate.
Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus applauded the change, saying he would “fully support” it.
The Fiorina camp was pleased. “Carly earned her place at the main debate stage,” tweeted Sarah Isgur Flores, Fiorina deputy campaign manager.
CNN said that if the eligibility window closed today, these candidates would qualify: Real estate mogul Donald Trump; Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida; .Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin; retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson; Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas; Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida; Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; John Kasich, governor of Ohio, and Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey. With the change, though, Fiorina would qualify.