Fox Business is sticking to its guns, and says it won't allow Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul onto the main stage on Thursday when the network hosts a GOP debate in North Charleston, S.C., just ahead of the Iowa primary caucuses.
Fox announced this week that only seven candidates would qualify for its prime-time debate. Paul and Carly Fiorina, who had previously been considered top-tier candidates, did not make the cut and were relegated to the so-called "undercard" debate.
Paul protested and said he would sit out the debates altogether. Then new polls came out Wednesday that might have qualified Paul. Unfortunately for him, they were too late.
"We announced the criteria [to make it on the main stage] in December and clearly stated the polling needed to be conducted and released by Monday, Jan. 11 at 6 p.m. ET," said a Fox spokesperson, according to CBS News.
Fox's criteria released in December said that to make it on stage, candidates would need to place in the top six of select national polls; in the top five of select New Hampshire polls; or in the top five of select Iowa polls. The cut off date for polls was Monday.
On Wednesday, Paul, who placed eighth in the Washington Examiner's presidential power rankings, told the Washington Post that he hoped the new polls would sway executives at Fox. "We're [hoping] they will re-evaluate and count this poll, which comes after the NBC/Marist poll, which also had us alone in fifth place," he said. "Our campaign is talking with them about re-evaluating the decision."