With only six days remaining prior to the first GOP primary debate, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, Ohio Governor John Kacish and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are in a three-way battle for the final two spots on the podium.
The need to enter the primetime event broadcast by Fox News and the fear of being relegated to the undercard debate held earlier in the evening, has forced the three candidates to blitz the media, courting conservative radio and Fox News in their effort to grab support in the last minute prior to the polling closing August 4.
Just this week, Christie has appeared four times on Fox News, which represents over half of his total appearances on the network since June when he began his campaign.
He was interviewed by Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity and Bill O’ Reilly, all of whom have millions of viewers tuned in.
Perry has appeared three times on Fox since Tuesday, while Kasich who was on Fox & Friends Friday, will do that again Saturday. He has talked to influential conservative host on radio such as Hugh Hewitt and Laura Ingraham.
The importance of being part of the debate on August 6 has upended the traditional pace of the campaign. Six months out from the caucuses in Iowa, candidates normally would be focusing on grabbing local support in states that start the show such as New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.
However, with the national polls being the determining factor in who is included in the August 6 debate, campaigns are being forced to play to a much wider audience, either via interviews in the media or headlines that are attention grabbing.
For candidates making the cut, the worry with building support nationally could put them at a distinct disadvantage. While candidates on the top-tier like Scott Walker and Jeb Bush are able to focus almost exclusively on preparing for the debate. Other candidates such as Perry, Christie and Kasich are forced to cram in sessions practicing amidst hits on the media that could continue to Monday or Tuesday.
As candidates blitz the country’s airwaves, the campaigns are pleading with Fox News to receive better clarity, on which polls the network is considering when deciding who is included in the debate.
The network said it would include the GOP’s top 10 candidates based upon an average of 5 of the most recent polls that cover the nation, but has not yet specified which polls.