Rick Perry is out but Carly Fiorina will be on stage for next week’s debate featuring the leading Republican presidential candidates.
Perry’s low poll numbers will keep him from the main event for the second consecutive GOP debate, though like last time, the former Texas governor will appear in an afternoon debate with the other second-tier candidates.
Eleven candidates will appear in main event of the CNN-sponsored debates Wednesday at 7 p.m. Central time, with Perry and four lower-tier candidates debating two hours earlier.
A rules change by CNN allowed Fiorina onto the main stage, adding an 11th spot to acknowledge her surge in poll numbers since last month’s Fox News/Facebook debate, CNN said.
The network determined eligibility by averaging results from 14 national polls, plus interviews with more than 6,000 potential Republican primary voters. In addition, CNN recently amended the rules to accept candidates who cracked the top 10 in polling since the Aug.6 debate. Those polls had Fiorina running seventh, tied with Mike Huckabee at 4.4 percent.
The average results produced a lineup that once again places Donald Trump in the center podium as the leader:
1) Donald Trump: 23.93%
2) Jeb Bush: 11.50%
3) Scott Walker: 9.43%
4) Ben Carson: 8.93%
5) Ted Cruz: 6.29%
6) Marco Rubio: 5.64%
7) Mike Huckabee: 5.57%
8) Rand Paul: 4.71%
9) John Kasich: 3.21%
10) Chris Christie: 3.14
11) Carly Fiorina: 2.23%
Perry, with an average of 1.8 percent, will have the center podium in the earlier debate, facing Rick Santorum (1.2%), Bobby Jindal (1.1%), George Pataki (0.5%) and Lindsey Graham (0.5%).
The debate will be at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in in Simi Valley, Calif.