2016 GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson is calling on Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee to allow all candidates who are “qualified” to be eligible to participate in the GOP primary debates.
On Friday, Carson sent a letter to the RNC detailing his apprehension toward the possibility that some candidates will not be allowed to participate in the debates. He said:
“Limiting participation of qualified candidates on this reasoning, I believe, does our party a tremendous disservice..”
Carson went on to specify former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as one candidate who should be eligible to participate in the debates, despite her poor polling:
“I am particularly concerned with widespread speculation that my respected and well-qualified colleague, Ms. Carly Fiorina, may fall victim to those who want to limit debate participation to the more ‘popular’ candidates, and I am serving notice herein, that I could not support such a decision.”
Carson added that having candidates with a diverse set of ideas and visions will allow the people and the Republican party to properly decide which candidate will best lead the GOP into the 2016 presidential general election:
“While I respect the authority of the RNC to sponsor and regulate the debates, I firmly believe in the value and necessity of allowing the diverse voices of our party to be represented and demonstrated for the benefit of the American public’s awareness and information.”
On Friday, Politico’s Dylan Byers reported that the RNC is considering limiting the debates to 12 candidates.
RNC Spokesman Sean Spicer said they would like the debates to be as “inclusive” as possible, but having more than 12 candidates on the stage at once is “not going to work.”
The first GOP debate is slated to be held on August 6th in Cleveland, Ohio. After that debate, Republican candidates will be able to do battle at least eleven more times.