Monday, October 1, 2018

Debate exclusion jeopardizes Iowa LP's status

Without media attention, Libertarians might lose status as official political party – The Daily Iowan:

September 25, 2018 - "As three debates between Iowa’s gubernatorial candidates fell into place this month, members of the Libertarian Party fear their candidate’s absence could derail a quest to renew their recently acquired status as an official political party in Iowa.

""The first of three gubernatorial debates will occur on Oct. 10.... Libertarian candidate Jake Porter will not be included in this debate nor in the following two.... The second debate will be broadcast ... Oct. 17, and the third debate will take place on Oct. 21....

"Porter said his biggest concern was earning enough votes in November to remain a state political party, a status that he believes could become precarious if voters are not exposed to Libertarian candidates and their platforms.

"'That is a big media opportunity to be in the debates; it gives a lot of credibility,' Porter said. 'Obviously, if we’re shut out of that, we’re probably not going to get a lot of coverage from that debate, and [we’re] not going to be able to share our views with a lot of Iowans.'

"This is the first election cycle since the Libertarian Party gained ballot-eligible status in 2016, following Gary Johnson’s presidential campaign. Iowa law states that to be considered a political party, an organization must have had a gubernatorial or presidential candidate who received at least 2 percent of votes cast in the preceding general election. The last time a third party became viable as a major party was in 2000, when Green Party candidate Ralph Nader garnered 2.2 percent of the vote....

"The first debate will be cosponsored by KCCI, a Des Moines television station, and the Des Moines Register.... Porter said he was expecting treatment of this kind from his opponents rather than members of the press....

"Joseph Howe, the state chair of the Libertarian Party of Iowa, said Porter’s absence from the debates could make the Libertarians’ position as a ballot-eligible party more precarious by limiting total audience exposure to candidates. If turnout for Porter fails to meet the required 2 percent threshold, then Libertarians will be relegated back to minor- or non-party status, as the Iowa Green Party was after a lackluster performance in 2002....

"There is a peaceful protest being organized for debate night at KCCI by Porter and others to draw attention to what they perceive to be unfair and damaging practices on the part of the sponsors. Simultaneously, a volunteer viewing list is being circulated among supporters to collect advertising data on KCCI. Libertarians are also taking to various social-media platforms to express their distaste for the exclusion."

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