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Florida Whig Party Chairman Paul Truesdell released a public video message on Friday calling for the resignation of Florida Press Association (FPA) President Dean Ridings. The Whig Party was responding to the FPA’s exclusion of Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Alexander Snitker in a candidate forum at the Ritz Carlton in Sarasota Thursday.
In the video message, Truesdell asked Ridings, “How dare you on Thursday refuse to allow Libertarian candidate Alex Snitker from appearing on stage?”
Snitker attended the forum and stood during the meeting to request equal speaking time. Ridings denied him the opportunity to speak, and called security to have Snitker removed.
The forum included Senate candidates Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist, Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene. However, Snitker was not invited. Ridings attributed that to Snitker not having attained 10% support in a “credible” general election poll.
An investigation revealed that Jeff Greene had not met the FPA requirement for inclusion, but was allowed to speak at the event anyway. Greene had received 27% in a Democratic primary poll by Quinnipiac that only included registered Democrats. Since Snitker does not have a primary challenge, it is virtually assured that he would have greater than 10% support within the Libertarian Party, the third largest political party in Florida.
Snitker also countered that the media has not included him in any polls that they have commissioned, therefore they have no standing to exclude him. “Shame on you,” said Truesdell said to Ridings, “It is wrong what you’ve done, and you should resign as President of the Florida Press Association.”
However, Ridings’ refusal to allow Snitker to speak appears to have benefited him. Snitker’s impromptu and passionate address to the assembly sparked far-reaching media coverage, and resulted in a huge increase in public interest in his campaign.
“The Florida Whig Party has endorsed Alex Snitker as its candidate for the U.S. Senate,” said Truesdell, “ and we encourage you to vote and spread the word.”