Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul vowed to skip Thursday’s Fox Business debate after the network announced on Monday evening that he did not qualify for the main stage.

“I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier because we have a first tier campaign,” the Kentucky senator told CNN.

Prior to Monday, Paul had qualified for each of the primetime debates.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

To qualify, a candidate needed to place in the top six in an average of the five most recent national polls, or in the top five in an average of the five most recent polls in Iowa or New Hampshire.

A memo sent to each of the candidates from the Fox News Decision Desk provided further detail on how the network came to its decision:

The six* polls used in the national average were conducted by the following organizations: Investor’s Business Daily/TIPP, FOX News, CNN/ORC, Quinnipiac University, ABC News/Washington Post, and Monmouth University.  All were conducted within the last month (the earliest were completed December 13.)  *Six were used rather than five because the earliest two polls were done concurrently. 

The six* polls used in the Iowa average were conducted by the following organizations: American Research Group, Quinnipiac University, FOX News, NBC News/WSJ/Marist, Loras College, and The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg.  *Six were used rather than five because the earliest two polls were done concurrently.

The five polls used in the New Hampshire average were conducted by the following organizations:  Monmouth University, American Research Group, FOX News, NBC News/WSJ/Marist, and Franklin Pierce/Boston Herald.

The Paul campaign, however, contended in a statement that Fox Business was “creating ‘tiers’” based on “bad science” and called it “irresponsible.”

“By any reasonable criteria Senator Paul has a top tier campaign,” the statement said. “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 statement added that Paul is “an important voice” in the GOP primary and “has a unique message to share.”

“He will hit the ground running this week to double down on his efforts to talk straight to the voters. See you in New Hampshire and Iowa,” it said.

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