Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guess who's not coming to the next Senate debate?

Four U.S. Senate candidates are expected to debate Friday night at UNC Charlotte. And none of them are named Kay Hagan or Thom Tillis.

Libertarian candidate Sean Haugh and three write-in candidates will appear at what's billed as an "all inclusive" debate sponsored by a group called Free the Vote North Carolina.

Hagan and Tillis were invited. Organizers never heard from Hagan; Tillis claimed a scheduling conflict.

It will be the second debate appearance for Haugh, who stood alongside the majority party candidates in Wilmington last week. It will be the first for write-in candidates Barry Gurney, John Rhodes and David Waddell.

Organizers say the debate is to show voters all their choices. That's what elections should be about, says Brian Irving, a spokesman for the Libertarian Party. "We have a democracy," he says, "All the choices available to (voters) should be allowed to speak.”

The event is trying to make a statement about a system that not only keeps some candidates out of debates but often off the ballot.

Some debate organizers, including media organizations, require a candidate to hit a certain polling number to participate. And North Carolina's ballot is notoriously hard to get on.

To get on the ballot, for example, a new political party or unaffiliated candidate has to submit petitions signed by 2 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. Now that's 89,366.

Last year a bi-partisan group of state House lawmakers introduced the Voter Freedom Act of 2013, a measure that would have launched a study of ways to ease ballot access. It passed the House 109-5 but went to the Senate Rules Committee where it died.



Garth Vader said...

The Observer, the News & Observer, and Time-Warner Cable scheduled a debate as well. But when Sen. Hagan declined the invitation, the Observer, the News & Observer, and Time-Warner Cable pulled the plug on it rather than having it with Tillis, Sean Haugh, and the other candidates.

So while Mr. Morrill feigns interest in "inclusion", the story from the higher-ups at The Observer is quite different.

Jim Morrill said...

Actually at this point the Time-Warner thing is still on, though just with Tillis.

Anonymous said...

Will Tillis brag about his support of education while teacher pay dropped to 48th on his watch?

Jordon Greene said...

The Observer, N&O and TWC debate did not invite all the "other" candidates, they only invited the Libertarian. The Free the Vote NC debate is still the only one to be all-inclusive in its invitation to the candidates to attend.

Thanks for covering it!

Anonymous said...

Kay Hagen has voted repeatedly to cut benefits for Military Veterans while keeping benefits for IRS employee Lois Lerner and other union employees of the government the same!

Garth Vader said...

Mr. Morrill,

Thanks for the response. Another individual inside the Observer had claimed it was cancelled.

Who's the Observer's primary coordinator for the debate?

Anonymous said...

Hmm.. teacher pay dropped? More like teacher pay was never raised prior to the Repub's gaining office. This didn't happen overnight and last I looked the vast majority of teachers got a bigger raise in the last year than they say in the last 20 years combined.

Anonymous said...

Will Hagan brag about her support of education while teacher pay dropped to 48th on her watch?

Democrats were in control of Raleigh for 150 yrs until 2 yrs ago.

Anonymous said...

Do those who complain about teacher pay realize it would have taken raising taxes on a shrinking work force? Be glad you had a job to go to because too many didnt for too long.

Garth Vader said...

Jordon Greene,

The Observer/N&O/TWC debate most certainly DID NOT invite Libertarian Sean Haugh.

I commend "Free The Vote NC" and look forward to learning about the write-in candidates, but you are definitely wrong in claiming that CO/N&O/TWC has as yet invited Haugh.

Jordon Greene said...

I'm sorry Garth, I was thinking of the League of Women Voters debate. My mistake. You can watch the All-Inclusive US Senate Debate held at UNC Charlotte on Free the Vote NC's YouTube channel now at