The Slatest

Carly Fiorina Will Leave Kids’ Table Behind, Join Main Stage in Second GOP Debate

Carly Fiorina
Republican Presidential candidate Carly Fiorina greets supporters at the Labor Day Parade on September 7, 2015, in Milford, New Hampshire. 

Kayana Szymczak/Getty Images

CNN has released the lineup of Republican candidates who will be invited to the network’s upcoming debate, which will be held at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Sept. 16.

As expected, Carly Fiorina wound up making the cut.

Fiorina’s campaign–and even some staffers for other GOP candidates–had criticized CNN for sticking too rigidly to standards set earlier in the year for determining who would be in the debate. Fox News had come under fire for using national polling numbers to limit its main debate, pushing Fiorina and others into a slightly humiliating earlier meeting in front of an empty arena.


With far fewer national polls coming out than expected between the two debates, Fiorina’s rise following her stong performance at the second-tier “kids table” debate wasn’t reflected in the averages, and CNN announced last week that it would revise its approach to include in the main debate in any candidate to place among the top ten according to polls conducted between Aug. 6 and Sept. 10.

The predicted result of the change was affirmed Thursday night when the A-list was released with Fiorina’s name in the newly-created #11 slot. CNN will host a second event for the candidates who didn’t make it in, and in a move sure to complicate rooftop debate watch parties across D.C., the network moved the main debate moved up one hour to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time to close the gap between the two.