Jaimes Brown isn't happy.
The Colorado Libertarian candidate for governor wasn't invited to a Channel 12 gubernatorial debate on September 10.
He says he found out about the debate in a Denver Post article after the event had been taped.
And he's not optimistic that he'll be invited to participate in a series of nine more debates scheduled to take place in the coming months between Democratic candidate John Hickenlooper and Republican candidate Dan Maes.
"A credible poll would list all the candidates who will appear on the ballot. A credible debate would invite all the candidates who will appear on the ballot," he wrote Friday to Channel 12 debate co-sponsors, Colorado Public Television and CBS.
"I shouldn't have to fight to be included in polls or debates. Americans are going to have to make some hard decisions about what we want and decide if we really want to solve our problems and get back on track toward prosperity."
Colorado Public Television production director Dominic Dezzutti says that a candidate needs to be polling at 5 percent in order to elicit an invitation. "In a one-hour debate format, if you have to include everyone that's on the ballot, it will take away from the substance of the debate." Dezzutti also notes that his station will air a Studio 12 episode this October that focuses specifically on Colorado's third-party candidates.
American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo, who did take part in the Channel 12 debate, is polling at 16 percent, according to Real Clear Politics.
And while his entrance into the race has put a spotlight on third-party candidates, they still don't get a lot of respect. Not only did the Hickenlooper/Maes joint announcement about the upcoming debates ignore Tancredo, but it said that the inclusion of third-party candidates would be up to the debate organizers in each case.
And while Tancredo probably carries enough weight to force himself into the room, candidates like Brown don't.
"[The debate organizers] set the parameters knowing that a third-party candidate can't meet them," Brown says. "They want you to point to a poll that shows you're important enough to show up, but none of the major polls list the third-party candidates by name."
So for Brown, the fight continues: "If you're good enough to be approved by the state of Colorado, you should be good enough to participate in the process. We should be providing information to the voters and letting them decide, not just providing them the information that you want them to decide from."
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