The Fox Business Network announced on Monday it was inviting only seven Republican candidates to its prime-time debate later this week, relegating Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina to a preliminary session.

Republican presidential candidates at a debate last

Image: AP via USA Today

The main debate in North Charleston, S.C., on Thursday night will feature businessmanDonald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov.John Kasich.

Paul, a Kentucky senator who has been on the main stage in five previous debates, told CNN he will likely skip the 6 p.m. ET preliminary debate Thursday:

“I won’t participate in anything that’s not first tier because we have a first-tier campaign.”

Paul and Fiorina were invited to the “undercard” debate along with former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl