The Associated Press and the Virginia Capitol Correspondents Association are being sued after some qualifying rules have excluded U.S. Senate candidates from a debate next month at their annual AP Day at the Capitol. And while similar suits have been filed in the past with little success, the candidate who filed the petition this week says the federal lawsuit brings to light an issue of fairness to voters and whether or not some entities are making a mockery of democracy
Eight Democrats and Republicans are running for the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Jim Webb. The debate rules state that to participate, a candidate must have achieved 15% in primary polls, and raise at least 20% as much money as the parties’ front-runners. Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican George Allen are only ones who have qualified. But, Democrat Julien Modica believes his civil rights have been violated–and the voters’ right to more options and an awareness of ALL issues, even within the parties, is being denied.
“We had the Tea Party, now we’ve got Occupy Wallstreet, you know in light of these two groups that are just outraged by what government has done, why would I just sit around and say ‘Ok, you guys have been here, you both have been governors, one has been a Senator, one was the chairman of the DNC, why would I just sit here and allow you to take over?”‘ said Modica.
Modica says both Allen and Kaine have shown how they will lead and that may not be what voters need now–but the VCCA and AP are essentially deciding for the voters.
As the debate approaches in December, Virginia Public Radio will air in-depth features with each candidate allowing them to introduce themselves to the voters and discuss the issues they believe are most relevant.