Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee Relegated To Undercard At Next Republican Debate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have been demoted to the undercard for next week’s prime time Republican presidential debate, while Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George E. Pataki learned that they did not get an invite — stoking speculation as to whether their sputtering campaigns can survive the damaging blow.

Fox Business Network announced Thursday that businessman Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson will take center stage at the two-hour event in Milwaukee. The debate, scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. EST, is the fourth of the nomination race and also will feature Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, who have picked up momentum.

Ford O’Connell, a Republican Party strategist, said the candidacies of Mr. Christie and Mr. Huckabee could be doomed “because of the stigma attached to being on the undercard, and we are roughly 80-plus days to the first nominating contest.”

“There just is not enough time to recover,” Mr. O’Connell said. “Politics is all about perception, and if you are not in the prime-time portion of the debates, it is going to be very hard for voters to get excited about you given the size and scope of the current field.

“Put it another way, how does getting demoted to Pawtucket help you make a MLB all-star game?” he said, alluding to the Boston Red Sox AAA baseball affiliate in Rhode Island.

Read more from Seth McLaughlin at The Washington Times

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