Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — CNN is amending their GOP debate criteria, likely allowing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to join the other top-tier candidates on the prime time debate stage.
The news –- announced Tuesday evening –- comes after Fiorina waged a personal and public war against the network and the Republican National Committee over their previous debate rules, which served to bar her from the main event.
“A lack of national public polling following the August 6 debate has so far provided only three new polls to determine the lineup for the Regan Presidential Debate,” according to a CNN statement. “As a result, CNN reevaluated its criteria and decided to add a provision that better reflects the state of the race since the first Republican presidential debate in August, the network announced [Tuesday].”
Under the previous rules, CNN would consider polls stretching all the way back to mid-July, meaning that most of the polls included in Fiorina’s average place her in the low single digits before her much-heralded performance in the FOX News undercard debate last month.
But now, CNN says that any candidate who was in the top 10 in polls from Aug. 6 to Sept. 6 will be included on the main stage.
A new poll from Monmouth University out Monday shows Fiorina placing third in the essential, first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, behind only Donald Trump and Ben Carson. She has also garnered a solid 5 percent of the vote in each of three national polls since the first debate.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus applauded the amended debate criteria. “I applaud CNN for recognizing its historic nature of this debate and fully support the network’s decision to amend the criteria,” Priebus said in a statement.
But the stage is still not set. The polling cutoff will ultimately decide Carly Fiorina’s fate, however her chances are now much better.
Prior to CNN’s rule change, Fiorina was averaging at 1.9 percent, but with the new debate criteria, Fiorina now averages at 5 percent, according to an ABC News analysis on who’s in and wo’s out for the next debate.
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