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Carly Fiorina misses cut for ABC News debate

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is the only remaining Republican candidate other than Jim Gilmore to not get an invite.
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and her husband Frank Fiorina arrive for a town hall on Feb. 3, 2016 in Stratham, N.H. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)
Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina and her husband Frank Fiorina arrive for a town hall on Feb. 3, 2016 in Stratham, N.H.

Carly Fiorina will not be on stage when Republican presidential hopefuls square off for their final debate before the New Hampshire primary on Saturday.

Debate host ABC News announced Thursday that the former Hewlett-Packard CEO did not met the networks' criteria to participate. She is the only remaining GOP candidate aside from Jim Gilmore to miss the cut.

Candidates Gov. John Kasich, Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, and Gov. Chris Christie were invited to attend the last debate before the New Hampshire primary.

Fiorina's campaign has lobbied hard over the past two days to be included, and others came to Fiorina's defense over her possible exclusion from the important showdown in the Granite State.

Fiorina has attracted sympathy from high profile Republicans, including former Republican presidential candidate and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Perry just threw his support behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Republican race, but that didn't stop him from defending Fiorina on Twitter.

Cruz also chimed in from the campaign trail, telling reporters in New Hampshire that he "encourages" ABC to put Fiorina on stage.

"She deserves to be there," he said.

Fiorina is the only woman running in the Republican field, prompting a tweet by 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, who said, "ABC News' decision to exclude herfrom Saturday's debate on the eve of our primary, while she is outperforming one of the other debate participants in New Hampshire polls, undermines our role in the primary process, and I urge ABC to allow Ms. Fiorina to participate."

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse also got behind Fiorina.

Fiorina met with Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus Thursday, following up on a letter she sent Monday to the RNC urging them to press ABC to let her debate.

"There are only 8 candidates left. It's time for the RNC to demand that media executives step aside and let voters hear from all of us," Fiorina wrote. "I trust you will act appropriately."

Fiorina outperformed several candidates who will be on the stage in the Iowa caucuses. She won one delegate in Iowa, meaning she is tied in the delegate race with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and beating New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Ohio Governor John Kasich.

"It just seems odd to me that someone who is polling above people on that stage, someone who has more cash on hand than people on that stage, someone who has a better ground game than people on that stage, someone who's on more ballots than people on that stage… it seems odd… that I'm the only person being excluded," Fiorina said on MTP Daily on MSNBC Monday.

Fiorina has toggled between the main debate stage and the undercard depending upon how she was doing in the polls and the criteria set for the event.

There is no undercard debate this time and three of the lowest performing candidates dropped out of the race this week, leaving just eight major competitors.

She also started a petition to persuade the network and the RNC to allow her to debate.

"The media and political class are trying to keep me from debating on Saturday night - even though I beat their candidates in Iowa and am outpolling them in New Hampshire," the petition reads.

That petition serves a double purpose. It is also a mechanism for her campaign to collect names and email addresses for fundraising and outreach.

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