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Mitch Perry Report for 11.6.15 – Chris Christie stuck in happy hour debate

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Nobody seems to be more upset about how the whole debate process for the Republican presidential candidates than Republicans. This, even after the RNC made such a big deal about how they were going to take control of the process this time around, after feeling they were hijacked by liberal moderators such as John King and George Stephanopolous in 2011-2012.

It seems that the major problem simply is the fact that there are so many major candidates running, with 14 in the mix (Jim Gilmore isn’t counted anymore, for whatever reason).  Having 10 candidates on one stage is too unwieldy, with even the front-runners getting shut out at times for up to half-an hour in an effort by the moderators to be fair in terms of questions offered to all the candidates.

The latest criticism is how Fox Business News criteria on the debates means Chris Christie has been removed from the prime-time debate line-up for next Tuesday night. Fox Business is requiring candidates to average at least 2.5 percent in the national polls through Wednesday in order to qualify for the main stage. Christie is averaging 2 percent in the polls.

Mike Huckabee, who’s gone nowhere this campaign, is also being relegated to the early “kids table” debate. And Lindsey Graham and George Pataki are being banned from that debate as well (Please hold the crocodile tears about Graham’s non-participation. I heard someone say that it’s a missed opportunity, since Graham, who considers himself a foreign policy maven, will be off the air on the day before Veterans Day. Please. There’s been absolutely no show of support for a Graham presidency anywhere other than with cable news bookers).

Those changes mean you’ll have only eight candidates on the main stage, which should make it better, frankly.

It is too bad for Christie, who has been rising slightly in New Hampshire, where he’s taken up shelter over the past few months (and talk about not doing blowing off your day job in New Jersey). To his credit, however, Christie isn’t complaining. His attitude has been essentially, put me in coach. And he’s been refreshingly devoid of whining about how absurd the questions were or were not from the CNBC hosts at last week’s Boulder debate.

In other news …

The Go Hillsborough transportation proposal moves on as a half-cent sales tax, but only one more county commissioner has to oppose it and the thing will come crashing down.

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The Sierra Club says they like Commission Chairwoman Sandy Murman’s Plan B proposal, which was met with lots of skepticism by her colleagues on Thursday.

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FDOT is offering money (specifics yet to be determined) to work with HART on “premium transit” options study.

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And Jeff Atwater is still not running for the U.S. Senate.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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