- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Wednesday he doesn’t plan on participating in any “undercard” GOP presidential debate if he ends up getting bumped off the main stage.

“I won’t participate in any kind of second-tier debate,” Mr. Paul said on Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade and Friends.” “We’ve got a first-tier campaign. … I’m not going to let any network or anybody tell me we’re not a first-tier campaign.”

Fox Business Network’s criteria for the next GOP debate, to be held Jan. 14 in South Carolina, say that candidates will qualify for the main, prime-time debate if they are in the top six in an average of recent national polling or in the top five in polling on either Iowa or New Hampshire, meaning there could be fewer than the nine candidates that were on the main stage at the last debate.

“If you tell a campaign with three weeks to go that they’re in the second tier, you destroy the campaign,” Mr. Paul said. “This isn’t the job of the media to pick who wins. The voters ought to get a chance. I mean, this is going to lay it up in [the] lap for Donald Trump if you don’t want to allow any competition.”

“I’m the only one on the stage that’ll challenge him. Everybody else is afraid of him,” Mr. Paul said.

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