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Battle For Final Spot In GOP Debate: Chris Christie Vs. Rick Perry

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Battle For Final Spot In GOP Debate: Chris Christie Vs. Rick Perry


By David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau (TNS)

WASHINGTON — With Fox News due to announce Tuesday which candidates will be onstage for the first debate of the GOP primary season, the fight for the final slot seems to be a battle of governors — Rick Perry versus Chris Christie.

The GOP has 17 candidates who have announced that they’re seeking the nomination, so debate sponsors have to find some way to cull the field. Fox, the broadcast sponsor for Thursday’s session, announced in the spring that 10 candidates would get to debate, picked based on who has the highest average standings in the five most recent national polls released by Tuesday.

So far, the most recent polls all tell pretty much the same story: Donald Trump in the lead, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and current Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

After those three, the recent polls show five other candidates bunched fairly tightly, all getting support in the mid- to high single digits — Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida, along with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon.

That accounts for eight slots, with three candidates consistently occupying the next tier — Perry, Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Whether by luck or smart tactics, Kasich announced his candidacy last month, just in time to be enjoying the usual announcement bounce in polls as the debaters get picked. The bounce is not much, but so far, it has been enough to put him ahead of one or both of the others in three of the four most recent surveys.

If that pattern holds, Kasich would be in the debate, which will be held in his home state, leaving Christie and Perry as the final two for the last slot. Whoever loses out would join the lower tier of candidates at a forum a few hours before the debate.

Fox is likely to announce its poll results Tuesday, which will certainly figure into the polling average.

Beyond that, however, network officials have given themselves considerable wiggle room on how to make the final decision. Although they’ve said they will average the most recent polls, they’ve left some key details undefined, such as how they will round off percentages, what they’ll consider to be a tie and whether they will use a simple arithmetical average or one that weights polls by sample size. Given that the candidates are tightly grouped together, those factors could all affect the outcome.

(c)2015 Tribune Co. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Republican U.S. presidential candidate and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie participates in the Voters First Presidential Forum in Manchester, New Hampshire August 3, 2015. REUTERS/Brian Snyder



  1. i2grok August 4, 2015

    Any debate that Rick Perry I in automatically becomes “lower tier” debate. As he will espouse his great works n Texas, please remember that he is under a felony indictment. And the Attorney General of Texas (Paxton) is under indictment well. Is this the kind of political mindset we need in the federal government?

    1. johninPCFL August 4, 2015

      Also remember that of the jobs growth in Texas, 40% of the total was from growth in government jobs. Quite the conservative record.

      1. i2grok August 4, 2015

        Yes thee was growth, the oil industry provided some of that growth but minimum pay service jobs were the primary portion of the growth.

        1. oldtack August 4, 2015

          You know Texas quite well. Are you a Texan?

          1. i2grok August 4, 2015

            Moved here I when I was 6 months old, I’ll be 70 in January. With the exceptions of a work stint in Laredo and 6 years of military travel, San Antonio has been home base.
            I h been active local and state politics at a base level, and have degrees in history and political science. I know theory and practice at several levels of Texas politics and life.

          2. oldtack August 4, 2015

            After an absence of 8 years our son, Brian, just returned to San Antonio. He works for Medtronics in pain management. He loves San antonio.

    2. CPAinNewYork August 4, 2015

      Texas is not doing well in the brains department.

      1. oldtack August 4, 2015

        Texas really went south when “Little Lord Fauntleroy”became governor before he went on upward to bankrupt the Nation. Then we inherited Slick Rick the Good Hair Boy from Paint Creek. But then we got Rafael Cruz, the Canadian immigrant and then the most clownish of all – Greg Abbott and his motley crew of misfits like Paxton.There in zero common sense in the Texas Government.

        1. Andrew Armstrong August 4, 2015

          That’s a lighter description then i use to describe current Texas politics.

  2. 1Zoe55 August 4, 2015

    As I watched this season’s Republican/Teabag candidates come on stage, I was reminded of the fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” With this group of losers, it would be Snow White and the seventeen and counting dwarfs. Donald Trump used apt descriptions for some of them, such as stupid, etc. Forgive my laughing, but these are the adjectives I kep thinking of: dumbo, snotsy, stupid, bitch queen, etc. I also thought of some crude ones too, but will refrain from posting them.

    1. CPAinNewYork August 4, 2015

      C.mon, give us the crude ones.

  3. Joseph Simmons August 4, 2015

    “Laugh about it, talk about it, when it’s time to choose–any way you look at it you lose!

  4. CPAinNewYork August 4, 2015

    Chris Christie is a fat slob who is trying to survive bridgegate by screwing his subordinates. Rick Perry probably has incipient male dementia, as evidenced by his inability to remember five departments that he would eliminate if he won the presidency.

    Dipshit Jeb Bush blurted out that we wants to eliminate Medicare. The rest are an assorted bunch of clowns, including Donald Trump.

  5. jamesowens August 4, 2015

    AKA as tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber

  6. Andrew Armstrong August 4, 2015

    Rick Perry is under FELONY indictment. That alone should disbar him from anything.

  7. Carolyn1520 August 4, 2015

    “Oops” Perry or “I’d like to punch the teacher’s union in the face” Christie.
    The bar is so low on that side.


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