Group of NH Republicans Say Debate Rules Would 'Distort the Political Process'

by Carrie Dann /
Image: A U.S. veteran wearing a bracelet with the word "Republican" on it raises his hand to be acknowledged at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua
A U.S. veteran wearing a bracelet with the word "Republican" on it raises his hand to be acknowledged at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, New Hampshire April 17, 2015. REUTERS/Brian SnyderBRIAN SNYDER / Reuters

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A group of New Hampshire Republicans have sent an open letter to FOX News and the RNC protesting the planned participation rules for the first GOP primary debate in August.

The group writes that “historically, it has been the responsibility of early primary and caucus states to closely examine and winnow the field of candidates, and it is not in the electorate’s interest to have TV debate criteria supplant this solemn duty. To do so would undermine the very nature of our process and the valuable service that states like New Hampshire provide to voters across the country.”

The letter is signed by more than 50 New Hampshire GOP lawmakers, officials and activists.

FOX News has said that only the top 10 GOP candidates, as determined by public polling, will be eligible to participate in the debate.

But the letter writers say that model would “artificially distort the political process, stifle democracy and competition, and induce voters to consider only those candidates pre-selected by virtue of their name ID rather than their potential as candidates.”

They instead suggest that the debate should be divided into two panels.

“We strongly encourage you to revise your criteria and present a format for your debate that embraces these principles and puts voters’ interests first,” they write.

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