Republicans will debate on Saturday night in New Hampshire. Aside from Jim Gilmore, the only Republican who has not been invited by ABC to participate in this debate is Carly Fiorina and she is not happy about it. In an open letter to the RNC, Fiorina writes:
To review, we beat Governors Christie and Kasich in Iowa this week when voters actually had their say. This campaign has the same number of delegates as Governors Bush and Kasich while Governor Christie has zero. We’re ahead of Dr. Carson in New Hampshire polling. We are 6th in hard dollars raised and have twice the cash on hand as either Governors Christie or Kasich. We are already on the ballot in 32 states, and there is a ground game with paid staff in 12 states. Yet, all of these candidates will be invited to the ABC debate. I will not.
She subsequently told The Hill, “It’s hard to justify a single candidate, the only woman, being excluded.” Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post criticized Fiorina for playing the gender card. But Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and New Hampshire GOP Senator Kelly Ayotte have all called upon ABC to include Fiorina in the debate.
I don’t think Fiorina’s argument relies primarily on the gender card, but it would look bad if the Republicans have a female presidential candidate who is excluded from the stage. Even though it’s a charter member of the liberal media that is the one doing the excluding, ABC’s competitors will have little trouble in criticizing the GOP for a lack of diversity (notwithstanding the presence of Ben Carson).
At this point, we no longer have 17 candidates. The debate stage is big enough for everybody (even Jim Gilmore). I think Fiorina has been a positive presence in the race and it is a mystery to me why she has not done better. Rubin might not think that Fiorina brings much to the debate stage. She’s entitled to that view. But why not let the voters of New Hampshire decide if Fiorina has merit? It’s their primary. She’s on the ballot. She should be heard. I simply do not see the harm of Carly Fiorina being on the debate stage on Saturday night. As such, the RNC (and if necessary her fellow candidates) should step in and insist she be included.