In the high school movie that is the GOP debate primaries, we picture the latest scene thusly: There goes Nancy Reagan, strutting down the hallway of America High, coveted invites in hand. Pan to the GOP presidential hopefuls standing by their lockers, looking at Reagan with a mix of fear, hope and anticipation. The camera zooms in on each face, capturing their expressions in slow mo as they learn their fate. Finally, Reagan stands in front of Jim Gilmore. He looks up at her, expectant. “Have you seen your numbers?” she asks as she walks past him, invitation withheld. As the camera soundlessly captures the celebration and back-slapping of the invited candidates, Gilmore takes out his cell phone.
The former Virginia governor tweets:
I announced my candidacy 13 days ago. Been in contact with @CNN and anticipate meeting the conditions to qualify for Reagan Library debate.
— James S Gilmore (@gov_gilmore) August 11, 2015
All is not yet lost.
In real life, Nancy Reagan did not walk through the halls of a high school to deliver the invitations to the top 16 candidates for the next GOP primary debate, co-hosted by CNN and the Reagan Library.
Like the Fox News debate, candidates will be divided into two groups for the Sept 16. debate taking place at the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. This time, however, the second debate will take place right after the first, and CNN’s State of the Union anchor Jake Tapper will moderate both. The debate will also incorporate questions from Hugh Hewitt, a conservative radio talk show host
CNN is keeping the 1 percent polling threshold that Fox News did away with before its debate, which means Gilmore is out of the running for now. Should his numbers improve, he will be eligible to join the debate.