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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Political Debate: Crimes Against Us: Greenwich, Connecticut

Just posting this bit of American criminality and repulsion generating favoritism as it's from one of my hometown newspapers. I must say that our roster of treasonous pols in Connecticut is more than just embarrassing, it's nauseating to be within their sphere of poison. I'm hoping the revolution comes soon...

Greenwich Post on Green Party Duffee's exclusion from Debates
Posted by: "Remy Chevalier" remyc@ prodigy.net aka cleannewworld
Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:50 am (PDT)
From: "David Bedell"
dbedellgreen@ hotmail.com


Minor parties cry foul over debate exclusion

Incumbent Congressman Christopher Shays (R-4) and his Democratic challenger, Cos Cob resident Jim Himes, have finished up their debate schedule and are looking ahead to Nov. 4, but two major third-party candidates were on the outside looking in.

Neither Richard Duffee, nominee for the Green Party, nor Michael Carrano, nominee for the Libertarian Party, were invited to participate in the debates. Organizers said they didn’t meet the criteria for inclusion and Mr. Duffee is crying foul.

“I’m convinced these debate organizers reached a decision before considering any of the evidence,” Mr. Duffee said in an interview with the Post on Tuesday. “They had the decision made before we even applied to be in a debate. They made that decision based on party and not on the individual. They decided that only Republicans and Democrats should be able to debate.”

The third-party candidates were not invited to appear in the series of League of Women Voters’ debates in the district. State league president Jara Burnett, a Riverside resident, said that while Mr. Duffee and Mr. Carrano did meet the requirement that the candidate be on the ballot, they did not meet the other criteria for inclusion, including broad voter support, sufficient money, and evidence of a campaign being waged, such as having a headquarters, volunteers, position papers, and participation in candidate forums.

“We wanted to provide as much information to the voters from the candidates who are running a really vigorous campaign because we have a limited time format,” Ms. Burnett told the Post.

Ms. Burnett said fund raising was also a factor, citing the league’s decision in 2006 to allow Libertarian Party nominee Phil Maymin to participate after he raised $40,000, but said it wasn’t the most important part of what led to the decision.

“It’s not just a matter of money,” Ms. Burnett said. “It’s a matter of how active your campaign is. Sometimes it’s as simple as seeing whether someone answers the phone at the number we’re given [as] ‘Duffee for Congress’ or ‘Hello.’ In 2006 you saw a very active campaign from Mr. Maymin. You saw Maymin for Congress signs and he sent out mailings. I’ve yet to see anything for Mr. Duffee.”

Mr. Duffee called the league’s stance “totally arbitrary.” Mr. Duffee said he does have office space, which he claims the league found unsatisfactory, as well as a cellular phone representing the main line for the campaign that costs him $100 a month. He said he has raised more than $9,000 for the campaign, more, he claims, than Mr. Maymin had raised before the debate applications were due in 2006, and that he has actually written more position papers than Mr. Himes and the four Republican congressional challengers in the state’s other districts.

“People don’t know I’m running because I’m not in the debates,” Mr. Duffee said. “When you get in the debates then you can raise money. It’s a chicken-and-egg situation. When I tell people I’m running they want to know why I’m not in the debates. The league is influencing voters and how people perceive the race, and they should lose their 501(c) status as an educational group because they are acting in a partisan manner favoring Republicans and Democrats.”

Mr. Carrano could not be reached for comment. Richard Lion, chairman of the Connecticut Libertarian Party, told the Post he thinks the standards for third parties are unreasonably high.

“I think it hurts the voting public,” Mr. Lion said. “We go through so much getting the signatures on petitions to actually get on the ballot and then we get shut out of the debates. It’s like you’re running a race and they tell you the established runners have to run a mile and everyone else has to run 10.”

There were no third-party candidates in the Business Council of Fairfield County’s debate Monday morning in Stamford. Joseph McGee, vice president of public policy for the business council, said it was an easy decision to just focus on Mr. Shays and Mr. Himes as candidates.

“In the past we’ve had third-party candidates, but this year we wanted to focus on one of the two who will win,” Mr. McGee told the Post. “Since we only had a 60-minute format for this debate, we wanted to give them as much time as possible to debate each other and make their positions clear.”

Mr. McGee said Mr. Duffee and Mr. Carrano don’t have much of a chance of influencing the race, unlike in 2006, when Mr. Maymin had the opportunity to upset the vote. Mr. McGee said he doesn’t think the third-party candidates will do that this year.

Mr. Duffee did attend the Monday debate, sitting in the audience and then passing out his literature after it was over. Mr. McGee said he understands why Mr. Duffee is disappointed in the council’s decision, but he feels it is best for voters.

“While he’s got a constitutional right to be on the ballot, this is a private organization and we wanted to focus on the two candidates,” Mr. McGee said.

Ms. Burnett said there will be participation from Mr. Duffee in other league efforts, including an electronic voter’s guide and a printed guide distributed a week before the election.

kborsuk@ greenwich-post.com


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