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C-SPAN has announced a Republican candidates’ forum to be held in New Hampshire on August 3, three days before Fox News holds its first GOP debate in Cleveland.
“This event is significant because it will afford the public its first opportunity to hear all of the Republican presidential candidates answer questions on one stage,”
said C-SPAN politics executive producer Steve Scully.
The forum is not one of the nine sanctioned debates approved by the Republican National Committee earlier this year (with the option for an additional three debates).
C-SPAN, along with the New Hampshire Union Leader, have invited all 17 announced Republican candidates, with confirmations received from Gov. Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Gov. John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and fmr. Gov. George Pataki.
There have been at least 14 candidates’ forums so far this campaign season, and it’s unclear if the C-SPAN forum will attract interest from the top-tier candidates set to debate on Fox News later in the week.
The organizers say they decided to hold the forum because of the “narrow criteria” used to limit the Fox News debate to ten candidates:
“Fox says only the ‘top’ 10 candidates, as judged solely by national polling, will be allowed on its stage,” the publishers said. “That may be understandable later, but the first votes are half a year away and there are a lot more than 10 viable candidates. The early primary process gives all candidates a chance to be heard. If networks and national polls are to decide this now, the early state process is in jeopardy and only big money and big names will compete.”