Carly Fiorina didn’t make the cut.
After a vigorous lobbying effort, Fiorina failed to convince ABC News to let her on Saturday’s GOP debate stage. The network too announced which candidates qualified on Thursday afternoon more than two hours later than it said it would. That led journalists and other interested parties on Twitter to speculate whether the delay meant good things for Fiorina, who wasn’t polling as high as she needed to make the grade.
But in the end, just seven candidates will appear on stage in Manchester, New Hampshire, this weekend: Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Aside from Fiorina, the only other declared candidate who didn’t qualify is former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.
This news is bound to be frustrating for the Fiorina camp. A poll out of New Hampshire earlier this afternoon, from CNN and WMUR, showed her tied with Christie in sixth place; if that survey had been the only one ABC News considered in determining which candidates qualified, she’d be in.
For Fiorina, the campaign to get onstage Saturday was no small fight. In the summer and early fall, her well-reviewed debate performances translated to bumps in the polls, and no doubt she was hoping this last debate before the New Hampshire primary would similarly give her a boost. This also wasn’t the first time Fiorina lobbied a network to admit her to a debate after she didn’t meet initial criteria. After qualification rules for a September contest forced her to the undercard, she insisted she was unfairly left out, because CNN had used outdated polling to determine which candidates should made the cut. CNN adjusted the qualifications, and she was able to compete. Fiorina also nearly missed the first undercard debate, until Fox opened it up to all declared candidates who didn’t make the main-stage cut.