Green Party candidate wasn't invited to SC-1 debate

Patch leaves Eugene Platt out of event

Posted by Paul Bowers at Charleston City Paper

Patch, AOL's online local news platform, will host a debate between candidates for South Carolina's District 1 House seat on Monday at the Citadel, but only two of the three candidates will be present. Republican Mark Sanford will square off against Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, but Green Party candidate Eugene Platt was not invited to the debate.

S.C. Patch Political Editor Shawn Drury, who will be a panelist at the debate, says Patch followed the guidelines of the Commission on Presidential Debates and only invited "the two candidates who are polling at 15 percent or greater." According to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity, the Commission on Presidential Debates is "a largely secretive tax-exempt organization, created and run by former chairmen of the two major parties, funded by a small group of unidentified major donors, and designed, it seems, to exclude nearly all third-party candidates."

Platt, who has referred to the mainline political parties as "corporate parties" in interviews, sent an e-mail to Drury Tuesday night asking to be included in the debate. In the e-mail, which he forwarded to the City Paper, Platt had this to say:

Your primary reason for excluding me from your debate at The Citadel on April 29 appears to be that a recent poll "showed [me] with 3 percent support." The fact that the poll showed me at 3%—-rather than 0%—-would seem to be a logical, fair, and eminently American reason for including me in the debate, not excluding me. After all, doesn't every vote count?

Your argument that the Commission on Presidential Debates "[uses] 15 percent as a threshold" is irrelevant to the present issue. Your debate concerns a special election for the U.S. House of Representatives, not for the Presidency. There is, of course, a huge difference ...

It is my understanding, Mr. Drury, that Patch has rented the Holliday Alumni Hall for the debate and, accordingly, has the prerogative of formatting the debate as it wishes. The point, however, is not what you may have the legal right to do, but rather the moral and ethical right to do.

I close with a respectful but earnest request that you reconsider your decision to exclude me.

Patch distributed tickets to the debate for free, but Drury says all of the tickets have been spoken for. Read more about Platt's campaign and platform in the City Paper's May 1 issue.