Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Tonight's gubernatorial debate may likely have three participants after a Broward County circuit judge late Monday ordered organizers to include Reform Party candidate Max Linn.

Linn, a millionaire financial planner from the St. Petersburg area, sought to be included in the broadcast debate claiming that the organizers' requirement that candidates meet a threshold of ten percent in polls violated his constitutional rights. Circuit Judge Leroy Moe agreed, and it is not known early Tuesday morning wheather the sponsoring organizations will appeal his decision.

The debate, to be aired live tonight at 8:00 by many of Florida's public radio and television stations, is sponsored by Leadership Florida, the Florida Press Association, and Florida's Public Broadcasting Service, Inc.

UPDATE: The Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled this afternoon that Max Linn could be barred from participating in tonight's debate, citing a 1998 U.S. Supreme Court case in which an independent candidate was excluded based on "little popular support in the reasonable, viewpoint-neutral exercise of it's journalistic discretion".

Monday's decision does not affect the second scheduled debate, which is scheduled for November 1 at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and is sponsored by Florida's NBC television affiliates.

IMHO, the ten percent threshold that the sponsoring organizations placed for candidates to participate is reasonable. There are a total of nine candidates that will be on the gubernatorial ballot in two weeks. If Linn had been allowed to participate, even though polls showed him with single digit support, the other candidates could have demanded a place at the table as well. In a case like that, no broadcaster would ever consider airing a debate with so many candidates because either the time required to broadcast a reasonable discussion would be more than they would be willing to present or the time restraints for candidate answers and responses would be too severe to be meaningful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. Linn's last minute legal guerilla tactics would have opened a floodgate that would have shut down the democratic dialogue process by causing either the whole thing to be cancelled or the other candidates to drop out. The 10% threshold was more than generous, considering they included the margin of error, which meant he could have gotten in with just 5% support. I think the national threshold is 15%. I am just glad we didn't have to listen to Mad Max's ravings.

11:58 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home