Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee were surprised when next week's debate host, Fox Business Network/Wall Street Journal, announced Thursday that the candidates did not score high enough in recent polling to continue debating on the main stage.
As the two governors were moved to the undercard debate schedule, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and former New York Gov. George Pataki were cut from all the debates for also not reaching the polling requirements.
Gathered below are seven reasons why Christie and Huckabee should be allowed to continue debating alongside frontrunners like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Marco Rubio.
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1. They have more experience than many
— Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has more than 10 years of experience overseeing an executive office, and current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has five. That means both have far more experience in office than Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina — all of whom have none. Having both won governorships and successfully defended them to win second terms, both men contribute real, hands-on knowledge whenever they debate, and relegating them to the undercard stage next week squanders their value.
2. They are leaders of the party
— Huckabee and Christie have a long track record with the Republican party, having fundraised tens of millions of dollars, and helped many down-ticket candidates get a leg up. This is not something that can be said of current frontrunners Ben Carson or Donald Trump. Moreover, Huckabee broadcast conservative principles to millions each week as a Fox News host. As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Christie was instrumental in forming the GOP wave that swept the 2014 elections.
3. They are lifelong conservatives
— Both current frontrunners, Ben Carson and Donald Trump, have been registered Democrats in the past, according to The Daily Caller
Huckabee and Christie are lifelong conservatives.
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4. Competition is good for the party
— Unlike the Democrats, who have effectively crowned Hillary Clinton with the nomination, the Republican field is more robust, diverse, and knowledgeable than it has ever been. Taking Huckabee and Christie's ideas off the main stage reduces competition, something that's fundamentally anti-American.
5. They fight back against the liberal mainstream media
— As a former Fox News host, outspoken Christian, and heartland governor, Huckabee is hated by coastal liberals, aka the mainstream media. Likewise, Gov. Christie got unnecessarily dogpiled over Bridge-gate (he was proven innocent) for being an outspoken, tough-talking conservative with a record of getting stuff done. During the last debate, Huckabee refused to take the bait offered up by CNBC's moderators, and complimented Donald Trump instead of attacking him. Christie shut down the moderators when they drifted away from policy questions, calling them "rude."
6. They are effective at criticizing Hillary Clinton
— During the last Democratic primary debate, Huckabee live tweeted throughout, and drew clear, effective lines of attack against the likely nominee. "At #DemDebate, Hillary will demonstrate her high level of intelligence by managing to remember, on every issue, the side she's currently on," he tweeted. During the last Republican debate, Christie praised his party, and bashed the other side. "I don’t see a lot of weakness on this stage, quite frankly. Where I see the weakness is in those three people that are left on the Democratic stage. You know, I see a socialist, an isolationist and a pessimist," he said. "I know who the pessimist is. It’s Hillary Clinton. And you put me on that stage against her next September, she won’t get within 10 miles of the White House. Take it to the bank."
7. They fight for religious freedom
— Huckabee has a long record of speaking out on behalf of religious freedom, and most recently visited Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis after she was thrown in jail over her refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Gov. Christie also has a strong record on religious freedom, and vowed to veto any bill legalizing same-sex marriage. In winning the governorship, he also became New Jersey's first pro-life executive since Roe v. Wade. Taking Huckabee and Christie off the main stage is a blow to religious freedom and the voices who defend it.
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