New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Sunday downplayed his demotion to the “undercard” stage in the next upcoming GOP presidential debate, claiming that he has seen a spike in donations in the days since the debate lineup was announced.
“There are a lot of people out there who disagree with what FOX did,” Christie told FOX News host Chris Wallace on Sunday. “We’ve been getting more donations in the last week than we’d gotten in the week before because people feel like, you know, we’re getting a raw deal.”
The Garden State Republican was dealt a major blow this week after he was shut out of the primetime stage for the fourth GOP presidential debate of the season, hosted by FOX Business this coming Tuesday.
But on Sunday, Christie pushed back on suggestions that the lineup snub would severely damage his presidential prospects. The New Jersey governor had been riding high earlier in the week after an impassioned video of the candidate talking about drug addiction went viral and amid signs that he was gaining traction with voters in New Hampshire.
“It’s really not a setback,” Christie. “I obviously don’t prefer it — I would rather be on the other stage where I was for the first three.”
Qualifying candidates needed to have garnered a 2.5% average in four recent national polls. Eight candidates met the cut-off: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.
Christie is not the only candidate to fall from the top tier. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has also been exiled to the undercard debate. Meanwhile South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a standout in previous undercard debates, has been shut out of Tuesday’s forum entirely, along with former governors of New York and Virginia George Pataki and Jim Gilmore.