Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina cut from main GOP debate lineup, Kasich stays in

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DES MOINES, IA – Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and former technology executive Carly Fiorina will not appear on the primetime debate stage later this week when the Republican Party’s presidential class faces off in South Carolina.

That’s according to debate host Fox Business Network, which announced the lineup for this week’s debate on Monday evening. Just seven candidates will be featured in Thursday’s 9 p.m. ET event based on criteria established by the network relying on recent polls.

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Real estate mogul Donald Trump will be featured center stage. He’ll be joined by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Gov. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Paul and Fiorina were invited to participate in a 6 p.m. “undercard” debate.

Earlier, Rand Paul promised to boycott that debate though.

“I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier because we have a first tier campaign,” the Kentucky senator told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Following the interview, Paul’s campaign released a statement in which it protested Paul’s treatment by the media.

“By any reasonable criteria Sen. Paul has a top tier campaign,” the statement read. “He will not let the media decide the tiers of this race and will instead take his message directly to the voters of New Hampshire and Iowa.”

“Multiple national polls including CNN, CBS, Fox, Marist and others have him in 5th or 6th place, one had him just a single point out of 4th,” the statement continued. “In multiple polls he scores ahead of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Carly Fiorina. In yesterday’s Marist Iowa poll he was alone in 5th place. In fact his numbers are on the rise in recent weeks.”

Fox Business did not make public which polls were under consideration prior to Monday night’s announcement, and Fox Business spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment on Monday night.

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***watch the report on Rand Paul and his debate status in the video box, above***