Tuesday, October 16, 2018

PA Libertarian's debate invitation revoked

Pennsylvania's Libertarian Senate Candidate Gets Invited, Then Snubbed From Televised Debate - Hit & Run : Reason.com - Eric Boehm:

October 9, 2018 - "Dale Kerns says he was promised a spot in an October 20 senatorial debate in the Philadelphia media market — only to have the invitation rescinded as the debate neared.... Kerns, an electrical contractor from the Philadelphia suburbs, is the Libertarian candidate in a four-way Senate race that also includes incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.), Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Hazleton), and Green Party candidate Neal Gale. All four candidates have qualified for the ballot in Pennsylvania.

"Emails obtained by Reason show that Kerns' campaign was twice assured of a spot in a televised debate by executives at the state's chapter of the League of Women Voters, which typically plays a role in organizing debates. In March, Suzanne Almeida, the then-executive director of the group, told Kerns' campaign manager that Kerns would 'certainly' be invited to 'participate in candidate forums after the primary.'

"In late August, the campaign again contacted the League of Women Voters seeking information about planned debates. Jill Greene, who had taken over as executive director in July, responded on August 29 to say that she was currently trying to plan a Senate debate with the League's media partners and that she would 'be sure to include Mr. Kerns and Mr. Gale.'

"Six weeks later, after the debate had been scheduled for October 20 on Philadelphia's ABC affiliate, WPVI-TV, Greene emailed Kerns' campaign manager John Odermatt to deliver the bad news. The League had asked to include Kerns and Gale in the debate, she said, but 'other organizers' did not 'feel as if current polling warranted an invitation'.... On Tuesday, Greene told Reason that any questions regarding the decision not to invite Kerns or Gale to the debate 'should be referred to WPVI, as it was their decision.'

"Niki Hawkins, director of community affairs for WPVI-TV, ... defended the station's decision on the grounds that Kerns had failed to meet eligibility criteria including 'significant voter support for the candidacy as reflected in polling numbers'.... It's true that Kerns has fallen short of the 10 percent threshold that serves as the only objective standard in WPVI's criteria.... But it's also true that Kerns wasn't officially on the ballot until August, so WPVI's decision to rely on polls conducted earlier in the campaign skews against the inclusion of third party candidates....

"'Make no mistake, this is cronyism: big media corporations colluding with big government political parties to keep out competition,' says Kerns. 'The mainstream media screams about Russia stealing elections, but behind the scenes they pull the strings to keep the duopoly in control.'"

Read more: https://reason.com/blog/2018/10/09/pennsylvanias-libertarian-senate-candida
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