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Perry Doesn't Make Cut For First GOP Presidential Debate

rick_perry_abc_.jpg
ABC News
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Rick Perry, during an earlier appearance on ABC News, will not appear in the first GOP presidential debate, which airs Thursday on Fox News.

Former Gov. Rick Perry has failed to qualify for the first Republican presidential debate, a setback for a candidate who has promised improvement over his ill-fated 2012 run. 

Perry was not among those selected Tuesday by Fox News to share the stage Thursday night in Cleveland. The cable network, which is hosting the 8 p.m. debate, based eligibility for it on the top 10 candidates in an average of five recent national polls.

Perry will now participate in a smaller debate Thursday evening with the six other contenders who also were not eligible for the prime-time event. In a tweet, Perry wrote he was looking forward to "a serious exchange of ideas & positive solutions to get America back on track."

Perry and his allies had expressed confidence that he would qualify for the debate but seemed to temper expectations in recent days. Perry's national polling has ticked downward amid the rise of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a late entrant to the race. Perry also has had to grapple with real-estate mogul Donald Trump, who has remained at the top of national polls for weeks despite attention-grabbing fights with the former governor.

The other Texan running for president, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, made the cut for the 8 p.m. debate. He placed sixth in Fox News' top 10.

The earlier debate will be held at 5 p.m. Perry will be joined in it by former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

The Texas Tribune provided this story.

Patrick Svitek is a reporter for the Texas Tribune. He previously worked for the Houston Chronicle's Austin bureau. He graduated in 2014 from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. He originally is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.