With less than two weeks until the first and likely the most watched Republican presidential debate, criticism of the selection process is intensifying.
Curt Anderson, former RNC strategist turned adviser to Gov. Bobby Jindal, penned a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he blasted Fox’s limit of 10 participants arguing that 16 slots should be granted.
“The Republican Party should be looking forward instead of backward and seeking every opportunity to feature its roster of excellent candidates, rather than trying to find ways to constrict the field.”
The op-ed was quickly followed by an email blast from respected former Romney adviser, Alex Castellanos, who piled on by pointing out that a 10-seat cut-off means that at least six candidates would not make the cut despite falling within the margin of error in polling behind the last candidate who made the cut.
What’s more, argued Castellanos, if current polling remains static, at least two sitting governors and the GOP’s most serious female candidate ever will be cut from the debate stage.
That multiple candidates have already begun massive spending campaigns in hopes of earning new approval numbers in the polls is drawing the ire of donors who argue that that money is being wasted because of Fox’s myopic selection criteria.
Fox’s only concession so far has been that it will sponsor a separate debate event earlier in the day for candidates who don’t make the first cut. But critics argue that the viewership of that event will be a fraction of the prime time viewership for the main event.