- The Washington Times - Friday, January 22, 2016

Republican presidential candidates will have three different ways to qualify for the main stage at the next GOP debate on Jan. 28 in Des Moines, with national polls, as well as Iowa and New Hampshire polls, included in Fox News’ criteria.

To qualify for the prime-time debate, candidates have to place in the top six nationally in an average of five recent polls, or in the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire in an average of five recent polls recognized by Fox News, which is hosting the debate.

For the earlier, “undercard” debate, candidates have to register at least 1 percent in any of the five most recent national polls recognized by the network.

The polls have to be conducted and released before Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 5 p.m. (ET).

The qualification rules are essentially the same as the criteria used for the most recent debate, held in South Carolina and hosted by Fox Business Network.

For that debate, seven candidates qualified for the main debate stage: businessman Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania participated in the “undercard” debate last week. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky also qualified for the earlier debate, but he did not attend.

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