GOP Candidates React to Being Excluded From Primetime Debate

GOP 2016 Debates
AP

With the final lineup set for the first Republican presidential debate, the lowest polling candidates are reacting, some angrily, to being left out of the main event, <a target="_blank" href="http://NBC News reported">NBC News reported.

"The idea that they have left out the runner-up for the 2012 nomination, the former four-term governor of Texas, the governor of Louisiana, the first female Fortune 50 CEO, and the 3-term Senator from South Carolina due to polling seven months before a single vote is cast is preposterous," Rick Santorum's communications manager Matt Beynon said in a statement Tuesday.

Debate host Fox News announced that Santorum, who won 11 states in the 2012 GOP primary, along with Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, Jim Gilmore and George Pataki, will square off ahead of the prime-time event Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio. The crowded field of 17 candidates prompted Fox to limit the main debate to the top ten highest polling candidates, as judged by five recent national polls.

Perry, Fiorina and Graham, however, had a more positive reaction than Santorum. The former Texas governor and Fiorina both said they were looking forward to the 5 p.m. debate while Graham tweeted an "Emoji Guide to Pregaming for the Trump Debacle."

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