Alan Keyes is among the Republican presidential candidates on the debate stage.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A familiar campaign figure is on stage in Johnston with the rest of the Republican field for the first time this year.
Former Ambassador Alan Keyes may be making his major debate debut this cycle at the Des Moines Register/Iowa Public Television debate, but this is the third presidential run for the veteran campaigner, who has also made three unsuccessful bids for the U.S. Senate.
Keyes may barely register in most recent surveys of Iowa primary voters, but he meets the criteria laid out by debate organizers: he registered at least 1 percent in October’s Des Moines Register poll, he has filed an official FEC statement of candidacy, and he hired an Iowa campaign staffer and opened an Iowa campaign office as of October 1.
Keyes did participate in a September Republican debate that was skipped by the leading GOP contenders.
On the Democratic side, underdog contenders like Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel are both out of luck – they will not be included in Thursday’s Democratic debate. (Kucinich was disqualified because his Iowa field director works out of his home.)
- CNN’s Rebecca Sinderbrand