Texas will be well represented in the first GOP presidential debate Thursday that’s being broadcast by Fox TV. But the Texan who led the state Republican Party for more than a decade didn’t make the cut.
As expected Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul- all raised in Texas -will be invited to the first debate being held in Cleveland. They’ve consistently polled in the top third of the 17 GOP candidates, and polling numbers were used to decide which 10 would be invited.
Austin-born Carly Fiorina didn’t make it.
Neither did former Gov. Rick Perry who’s never recovered from gaffes he made during the 2012 presidential campaign. Republican consultant Matt Mackowiak says that will make it hard for Perry to repair his reputation and generate momentum.
“He desperately wants the oops moment behind him and the 2012 campaign behind him, and the best way for him to do that is to do it in a high stakes, huge audience debate. But if he’s not able to be on that stage with top candidates it’s going to be hard for him to do that,” Mackowiak said.
Mackowiak says Perry has been polling better in Iowa and South Carolina than in national surveys, so he may be included in debates held in those critical states where voters select their party nominees early.
But being shut out of this first match-up makes Perry’s uphill climb even steeper. He and others running back in the pack are invited to a separate forum being broadcast by Fox, what is almost mockingly being called the “kids stage.”
The candidates taking part in the Fox News debate at 9 p.m. EST are: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich.