Jake Tapper revealed the line-ups on State of the Union Sunday morning. The primetime debate features nine candidates and the undercard debate features four candidates. All Republican candidates qualified for the debate, except for former Governor Jim Gilmore. Gilmore has not been in a debate since the first debate which was sponsored by Fox News.
Many wondered whether Senator Rand Paul (KY) would make it to the debate stage. Preliminary analysis of polling data showed Paul narrowly missing the cut. CNN required an average of at least 4% or 3.5% in either New Hampshire or Iowa. However, Paul notched 5% in a Fox News poll for Iowa. The network says that the results allowed Paul to get into the main debate.
Governor Chris Christie (NJ) is making his return to the main debate stage after being in the undercard debate last time. Christie has had a successful past month in New Hampshire where he has focused his campaign. He gained the endorsement of the state’s largest paper and has been on the rise with polling.
On the other hand, former Governor Mike Huckabee (AR) has been demoted to the debate stage. However, former Governor George Pataki (NY) and Senator Lindsey Graham (SC) have made their return to the undercard debate. They previously failed to make the debate stage due to low polling.