Post and Courier to co-sponsor GOP presidential candidate forum

A Republican presidential forum co-sponsored by The Post and Courier and news organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire will be held Aug. 3 at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. It will be broadcast nationally by C-SPAN.

“New Hampshire Today” radio host Jack Heath will moderate the forum, which will be aired by WLTX-TV in Columbia and by KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in addition to C-SPAN. The time for the forum has not been set.

The debate also is sponsored by The New Hampshire Union Leader and the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

Invitations have been extended to all of the candidates in the Republican field. The event will take place three days ahead of the Republican presidential debate scheduled for Aug. 6 in Cleveland. Only candidates in the top 10 of an average of national polling as of Aug. 4 can participate in the Fox News debate.

“Fox says only the top 10 candidates, as judged solely by national polling, will be allowed on its stage,” Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid said in a prepared statement. “That may be fine later, but the first votes are half a year away and there are a lot more than 10 viable candidates. The early primary process gives all candidates a chance to be heard. If networks and national polls decide this now, the early state process is in jeopardy and only big money and big names will compete.”

The Fox plan has been widely criticized and was the subject of protest letters last month from prominent Republicans in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Dr. Ben Carson, whose own polling numbers assure him a Fox spot, nonetheless criticized the plan. So, too, have other candidates, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

With the addition of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Monday, there are more than a dozen declared Republican candidates for president. That field could grow by two in early August, when Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore are expected to announce their intentions.