The criteria for CNN’s December presidential debate include a new way for candidates to make the stage: early-state polling strength, reports Politico.
Candidates can qualify for the debate through one of three ways: polling averages nationally, in Iowa, and in New Hampshire.
Notes, Politico: While every previous debate has only used national polling, candidates who average at least 4 percent in either Iowa or New Hampshire polls will make the stage in Las Vegas, according to the standards CNN released Friday. Candidates who average at least 3.5 percent in national polls between Oct. 29 and Dec. 13 will also qualify.
According to CNN, nine candidates would currently make the cut: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie.
Christie missed the last main Republican debate, but he has always polled more strongly in New Hampshire than elsewhere. Christie has not gotten less than 5 percent in any of the qualifying polls.
Rand is on the bubble for the debate. He currently clears the national hurdle of 3.5%, but doesn't average 4% in either of the first two states to vote in the 2016 nominating process.
CNN also said Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash will join conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt as questioners in the debate that will be moderated by Wolf Blitzer.
The debate is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada.