Representatives from at least nine GOP presidential campaigns will meet on Sunday to discuss taking control of their remaining debates from the Republican National Committee, Politico reported.
The push for the meeting is being led by campaign advisors for both front-runners Ben Carson and Donald Trump, as well as for Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who have been limited thus far to the “undercard” debates for candidates polling below 10th place.
“I think the families need to get together here, because these debates as structured by the RNC are not helping the party,” said Carson’s campaign manager Barry Bennett, in an interview with the conservative Washington Examiner. “There’s not enough time to talk about your plans, there’s no presentation. It’s just a slugfest. All we do is change moderators. And the trendline is horrific. So I think there needs to be wholesale change here.”
Carson confirmed earlier in the day that he had asked staff members to contact other campaigns to explore changes to the debate format following heavy criticism against CNBC, which moderated Wednesday’s debate. Campaign advisors for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) are also expected to attend Sunday’s meeting.
Graham’s campaign manager, Christian Ferry, said the purpose behind the meeting was to see what format worked best for the candidates as a group.
“I think the campaigns have a number of concerns and they have a right to talk about that amongst themselves,” Ferry said.