Thought 11 was too many? The Republican debate stage could get even more crowded when the party’s presidential hopefuls meet again at the end of October.
The Republican National Committee is not ready to commit to having an undercard debate the next time around, spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday. RNC officials will be watching the race unfold over the next few weeks to see if any candidates drop out, and how many. But unless there’s a mass exodus of longshots, the party would be confronting the possibility of trying to fit a dozen or more candidates on stage for the October 28 debate in Boulder, Colorado, which will air on CNBC.
“We’ll have to make a decision based on the number of candidates that are in or out,” Spicer said by phone on Thursday. “Before we start deciding what the format is, you have to see how many candidates are going to be there.”
The total number of candidates in the two debates on Wednesday—18— was two fewer than the number who gathered in Cleveland in August. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry dropped out just a week ago, while Jim Gilmore, the one-time Virginia governor, was excluded for polling below 1 percent. Many of the lagging candidates may be running out of money and are waiting to see if their performances on Wednesday will be rewarded with a bump either in fund-raising or poll numbers.