Green Party Candidate In SC 1st District Special Election Excluded From Debate

The following was posted on Green Party Watch on April 26th:

From the 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.

22 thoughts on “Green Party Candidate In SC 1st District Special Election Excluded From Debate

  1. Oranje Mike

    Not a surprise in the least. What better way to ensure that candidates outside of the duopoly never reach an arbitrary poll number than refusing to let the people hear them.

  2. Deran

    I would guess the political duopoly would exclude a Libertarian or Constitution candidate. And this is ne of the reasons I would vote for almost any third party candidate in this race, no matter my personal ideology — if those opposed to the political duopoly can’t act together to generate a bloc of votes that show there are people opposed to both the major parties, what hope is there for any candidate who opposes the political status quo?

    If I may twist an old adage; I’d pretty much vote for a yellow dog as long as they aren’t a Democrat or a Republican.

  3. Rod Stern

    “If I may twist an old adage; I’d pretty much vote for a yellow dog as long as they aren’t a Democrat or a Republican.”


  4. Krzysztof Lesiak Post author


    I disagree with you. I will vote for a liberty candidate no matter what the party label. I have no problem voting for a Republican as long as they genuinely share my views.

  5. Stewart Flood

    During last fall’s campaign, there was a debate. The incumbent (R) and our Libertarian candidate were present, but the Democrat and other candidates were excluded.

    I was out of town and didn’t attend it, but that’s what I was told by our candidate.

    Two years ago, the League of Women Voters wanted to hold a debate. We accepted, the Democrat accepted, but the Republican did not so there was no debate.

  6. Thane Eichenauer

    In my opinion given that people likely to vote for a Green party candidate are already more than likely to come from a pool of voters that would otherwise vote for a Democratic party candidate I would hope that Mark Sanford would take steps to include Eugene Platt in the debate just from a tactical standpoint.

  7. Stewart Flood

    I believe that poll may be accurate. She is pounding him night and day with ads saying he misused government funds and listing actions and votes of his while in office. Some of the “bad” things libertarians would agree with (not voting for pork for our district), but the uneducated public may agree with her and send her to DC.

    He was found guilty of misuse of government funds, which he replaced and paid a $75K ethics violation over.

  8. Stewart Flood

    We are in the last week of the campaign. The debate is over and Sanford could not care less about inclusion in a debate. If he had, they would have invited Platt.

  9. Rod Stern


    I can’t remember where, but I saw polling that shows that in this race a lot of the Green support comes from people usually more inclined to vote Republican. I don’t know why that would be, but go figure.

  10. Stewart Flood

    This is the heart of the Bible Belt. The original leaders of the “Christian Coalition” live here and still influence local politics. Many of them will stay home, but those that vote (and that cannot dare vote for a Democrat) may vote Green, not understanding what they stand for.

    I predict low turnout, which will make the few votes he gets a higher percentage than a Green would normally get.

  11. Scott West

    The Platt tweeted responses to the debate questions and posted longer responses on FB

    Also, the City Paper is doing an article on Platt in the May 1 edition. We’ll see how that goes. The Post and Courier did a brief article last week.

    Turnout will be low for a general election, but the drama around Sanford makes this one difficult to predict.

  12. John Macy

    I’m a libertarian, and while no candidate here is anywhere near perfect, I would consider the Green to be the least bad choice.

  13. Darryl W. Perry

    From Ballot Access News

    Conservative Campaign Committee PAC Launches Campaign for Write-in Candidate in South Carolina Special U.S. House Election

    According to this story, the Conservative Campaign Committee PAC has launched a campaign to persuade voters to write-in State Senator Larry Grooms for U.S. House, in South Carolina’s upcoming special election in the First District. Grooms disavows the effort. However, South Carolina allows write-ins (for all office except President) and has no requirement that write-in candidates file a declaration of write-in candidacy. Therefore, there is nothing Grooms can do to stop the campaign for him.

  14. Sam Kress

    Well, maybe the Democrats will take this normally Republican district. But they’ll probably lose it pretty quickly, too.

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