Iowa’s governor has talked with the head of FOX News to air his concerns about the format for the first televised debate among the Republican presidential candidates, set for August 6 in Ohio.
“We had a real good discussion and he shared with me some of the challenges that he’s facing,” Governor Terry Branstad told Radio Iowa today.
In mid-June, Branstad said he planned to talk to FOX News president Roger Ailes about the rules that will allow only 10 candidates on the debate stage, based on which 10 are leading in national polls.
“I don’t think anybody ever anticipated you’d ever have more than 10 candidates,” Branstad said. “And he told me one of the challenges of doing it the way that I suggested — which was two panels and have the candidates randomly chosen (for) that, he said some of the people that are frontrunners would not be happy with that because they would be sharing the state with people that are not, maybe, as viable.”
As of this week, 16 candidates have officially entered the Republican presidential contest. Branstad said it appears Ohio Governor John Kasich — who formally kicked off his presidential campaign Monday — will not be included in the debate in Cleveland.
“Kasich runs well ahead of Hillary Clinton in Ohio and yet he’s not in the top 10, so he won’t be in the debate in his home state,” Branstad said. “That doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
FOX News chief Roger Ailes was a political consultant before he helped launch the cable network and Branstad was one of his clients. Ailes produced ads for Branstad’s gubernatorial campaigns in 1986 and 1990 and the two men reminisced a bit about those campaigns during their recent visit.