More than 100 elected officials and Republican Party leaders in South Carolina are the latest to express their concern over the Republican debate process.
In the letter addressed to head of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus, and the head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, the letters signatories said they are "concerned that your proposed qualifying criteria for the Republican presidential debate undercuts the historic role of South Carolina and other early states ... and also has the effect of denying all credible candidates an opportunity to have their voices heard on an equal basis at the beginning of the process."
New Hampshire activists recently expressed the same concern, saying that the debate criteria would "distort the political process."
"We believe nationally televised debates, especially early debates that occur six months before the first vote is cast, should be open to all candidates. Excluding candidates based on national polling at this point in the race rewards name recognition for those candidates who are celebrities, candidates who have run previously or candidates who have lots of money to purchase early national advertising. Our nominating system is designed to let well-informed voters in early states with in-depth exposure to all the candidates begin the process of narrowing the field," the letter goes on to say.
The first debate is scheduled for August 6th in Cleveland and will be hosted by Fox News. The media outlet said that candidates must register in the top ten based on national polls to qualify for the debate stage. That could leave out as many as six Republican candidates, including two sitting governors, a sitting senator and the only woman in the Republican race.