Numerous Republican presidential candidates will meet on Sunday evening without a representative from the Republican National Committee to discuss grievances and propose changes to the primary debates, Politico reported Thursday night.
Representatives from the campaigns for Ben Carson, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC), and Donald Trump have begun organizing the meeting, according to Politico. Campaign staff from the campaigns for Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sen. Rand Paul (KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) are expected to attend the meeting.
Candidates were quick to criticize CNBC and the RNC following the Wednesday night Republican presidential debate. Republicans griped that the moderators did not ask enough substantive questions, and some candidates lower in the polls are concerned about qualifications to make it to the debates and into the top-tier debate.
Carson was outspoken about his plan to rally the candidates to propose changes to the debate format. His campaign on Wednesday night said that Carson would be contacting other campaigns, and Carson himself confirmed that on Thursday.
“I’ve asked my staff to reach out to the other campaigns to talk about a change in format,” Carson told reporters at an event in Colorado, according to The Hill. “And we’re looking for an opportunity to actually be able to explain what your program is, what your philosophy for leadership is and then be questioned about it.”
Graham’s campaign manager, Christian Ferry, told Politico that the campaigns want to “find out what works best for us as a group.”
“I think the campaigns have a number of concerns and they have a right to talk about that amongst themselves,” he said.
Gail Gitcho, a spokesperson for Jindal, told Politico that the candidate is mainly concerned about the debate qualifications.
“Our continuous complaint is candidate exclusion and the delusional debate polling criteria. It’s unacceptable,” Gitcho said. “Maybe this meeting will change that, maybe it won’t. But we aren’t going to shut up about it.”