Partisan Chamber of Commerce Excludes Libertarian Candidate from US Senate Debate

10/10/2012

In a decision earlier today, the Clayton Chamber of Commerce in the Saint Louis area decided to uphold their earlier decision to exclude Libertarian U.S Senate Candidate Jonathan Dine from their October 18th debate. After learning of the upcoming debate and his exclusion, Dine had contacted Executive Director Ellen Gale last week to request inclusion. After some exchanges between them, Gale sent a letter to Dine earlier today simply stating that they were proceeding with their earlier decision to exclude him. No reasons or objective criteria were stated. Dine participated with Claire McCaskill and Todd Akin in an earlier debate in September hosted by the Missouri Press Association.

A limiting factor is in place simply to be on the ballot. Parties must qualify through either petitioning or past election performance and candidates must pass muster with their party and compete in a primary. If running as an independent, statewide candidates must collect 10,000 valid petition signatures. The Missouri Libertarian Party has successfully maintained ballot access and fielded slates of candidates for the last 20 years, observed Dr. Cisse Spragins, Missouri LP chair. The fact that our candidates are still being excluded from debates is appalling. It is clear, given the dynamics of this race, that Dine is going to be a factor in November. We laud the Missouri Press Association for their long-standing policy of recognizing and including all candidates on the ballot in the debates they host.

Spragins added, Outside of my work with the LP, I own and run a manufacturing company I started 13 years ago. We sell nationally and our primary competitors are a small handful multi-national corporations. Competing in this environment is much like what the Libertarian Party faces on a daily basis. I'm disgusted that an organization such as the Chamber of Commerce, which claims to be non-partisan, and which also claims to support smaller local businesses would take such a blatantly partisan stance. If I were one of their members, I would seriously question where their real interests lie. Who are they to decide what voters want to hear?

Voters who recognize that the two-party duopoly has jointly led the country to the brink of economic disaster and who are tired of never-ending foreign wars and a ballooning big brother police state will find common ground with the Libertarian Party. The Libertarian Party is America's third largest political party and has been fighting for smaller government since 1971. The Missouri Libertarian Party has been a recognized party in the state, with continuous ballot access since 1992. For further information visit www.lpmo.org or call 877-Vote-4-Us.

Contact Name: 
Cisse Spragins, Ph.D.
Contact Phone: 
612 309 9232
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