Republican presidential hopeful Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has vowed not to participate in another under card debate. Photo by Brian Kersey/UPI | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- In light of stricter requirements for the next Republican presidential debate, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., says he won't go quietly into that under card debate.
In an interview with Kilmeade and Friends Wednesday afternoon, Paul said he will refuse to participate in an under card debate.
The last GOP debate -- which featured the top nine candidates -- roped Paul in by virtue of an eleventh-hour rule change by CNN. Paul had also campaigned aggressively for CNN to allow him on the main stage.
"I won't participate in any kind of second-tier debate," Paul said Wednesday. "We've got a first-tier campaign. I've got 800 precinct chairman in Iowa. I've got a 100 people on the ground working for me. I've raised 25 million dollars. I'm not gonna let any network or anybody tell me we're not a first-tier campaign. If you tell a campaign with three weeks to go that they're in the second-tier, you destroy the campaign. This isn't the job of the media to pick who wins. The voters ought to get a chance."
Paul is the first Republican candidate to come out against the harsher rules for the Jan. 14 debate in Charleston, S.C. The new requirements were announced Wednesday morning.
Variety reported candidates will have to meet at least one of three eligibility requirements to make it to the main event:
By Jan. 11, they must place in the top six in an average of the five most recent polls; They must place in the top five in an average of five recent Iowa polls, or they must place in the top five in an average of the five most recent New Hampshire polls.
The network estimated Tuesday that six candidates would meet at least one of those requirements. Those candidates are Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, according to The Huffington Post.