Libertarian Candidate Threatened With Arrest For Attending Debate
By Adam Kirk - Morning News Producer @ October 5, 2010 8:22 AM Permalink | Comments (0)
Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Alex Snitker said he was told he would be excluded from a televised debate scheduled Wednesday at 7 p.m. between Florida Senatorial candidates, and if he tried to participate, he would be arrested for trespassing.
The debate is being hosted by WFTV Orlando, also owned by the parent company of WOKV, Cox Media Group.
The debate is scheduled to include Republican Marco Rubio, Democrat Kendrick Meek, and Charlie Crist, who has no party affiliation.
Snitker said that his campaign was told by a station employee that he would be arrested for trespassing if he tried to come on the property and participate in the debate. An employee of WFTV said in an email statement that the reasoning for the exclusion was that he did not poll above 10% in the U.S. Senate race.
However, Snitker noted that his name is not routinely included in polls. He cited a poll conducted by Telsel in May 2010, a St. Augustine-based telemarketing company, where Snitker had 12% support among likely voters familiar with all four candidates, and 3% among all voters. WOKV has received the polling data, and Telsel said the margin of error was +/- 2 points.
Campaign media director, Adrian Wyllie said that, according to their internal data, Snitker's support is somewhere between 8-14% among likely voters as of October 1st.
Snitker said he plans to hold a protest outside the station on the night of the debate, and answer the questions being asked live on the air for viewing later on his website.
Calls to WFTV for an official statement have not been returned, however we received an email from an employee stating that Snitker was excluded from the debate because he did not qualify under the rules. "While the rules preclude his participation we intend to treat all campaigns with courtesy," the email read. Subsequent statements said the polling data presented must be from a nationally recognized polling firm, and that the cutoff date for entry into the debate had already passed.
A statement from a different employee said WFTV will offer Mr. Snitker an interview with one of their reporters if he shows up, but that he was excluded because he's not one of the major candidates.
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