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Paul Bumped From Main Debate Stage

Associated Press

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 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. event based on criteria established by the network relying on recent polls.

Paul and former technology executive Carly Fiorina were invited to participate in a 6 p.m. "undercard" debate.  Paul’s campaign has declined the invitation.  A statement from the candidate says he and Republican voters are being disenfranchised by a flawed polling system.

"By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top tier campaign. 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," the release said.

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.

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