Oct 6, 2008

Newspaper sponsors debate with third party candidates

The good news is the Livingston County Press and Argus is sponsoring a candidate’s debate at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Brighton Center for the Performing Arts at Brighton High School, 7878 Brighton Rd., but the bad news is its just five days before the election and its not being held in the county seat of Howell.

The paper does an excellent job every election and should be commended for putting it on, but I just wonder how many undecided voters there are just five days before the election. The debate also only features the U.S. House seat, the two state House seats and the candidates for the 53rd District Court. There are no debates for the contested board of commissioner seats. Although that’s important, I don’t think its nearly as important as the date.

This is also the first debate I have ever been where third party candidates have been invited. To me, that seems like a waste of time. Can anyone remember the last time the Michigan Legislature had a third party candidate?

For the minor parties to appear on the general election ballot, the top-of-the-ticket candidate – whether it’s a presidential candidate or a hopeful for a statewide office such as a university trustee position – must receive at least 1 percent of the vote the successful Secretary of State candidate received in the Nov. 7, 2006, general election. The parties qualified for the election next month are the Green Party of Michigan, the U.S. Taxpayers Party of Michigan, the Libertarian Party of Michigan and the Natural Law Party.

As the LCPA has done with past debates, the newspaper is soliciting questions from readers, and people can e-mail questions to letters@livingstondaily.com. Make sure to put "DEBATE" in the subject line of the e-mail.

Those invited to debate are candidates for the 8th Congressional District: Democratic Bob Alexander and Republican Mike Rogers. I’m also wondering why third party candidates were invited to attend the state House debates but not the Congressional debate. Also on the ballot are Green Party candidate Aaron Stuttman, U.S. Taxpayer candidate George Zimmer and Libertarian Will Tyler White.

Candidates for the 66th District open state House seat are Democrat Donna Anderson, Libertarian Todd Richardson and Republican Bill Rogers.
Candidates for the open 47th District state House seat, are Republican Cindy Denby, U.S. Taxpayers candidate Philip Johnson, Democrat Scott Lucas and Libertarian Rodger Young.
Candidates for the nonpartisan 53rd District Court judgeship are Judge Theresa Brennan and Jay Drick.

This debate, of course, is free and a public service, and I recommended people attend. In the past, the Livingston County League of Women Voters sponsored a separate debate that was more spontaneous, and questions were taken from people who actually attend the debate. The more debates and information the better.

Don’t forget The Great Debates, televised debates between state House candidates, sponsored by the Center for Michigan and Detroit Public TV. Of course, you will not be able to see Bill Rogers, who canceled at the last minute and still has not rescheduled.


Anonymous said...

So the third party candidates shouldn't be invited because they never win. Let's use that same logic with the Democrats.

When's the last time a Democrat from Livingston County won a state House or state Senate seat? When's the last time a Democrat won a race for county commissioner? Bob Alexander got clobbered the last time he ran against Mike Rogers and he will again in November.

Democrats seldom if ever win in Livingston County, so I guess there is no reason to invite them to the debate.

Communications guru said...

Yes, third party candidates shouldn’t be invited to this particular forum. Where do you get the idea Democrats never win? Your logic goes right out the window when you read my entire post. Why were the third party candidates invited to the House debates, but nor for the U.S. Congressional debate? I guess by your logic we should just cancel the debate. Hell, we should just cancel the election in Livingston County.

In the 2004 presidential election more than 33,000 people voted for Democrats, but only 70 people voted for the Green Party candidate, 101 for the U.S. Taxpayers candidate and 286 for the Libertarian. Based on those numbers, you think Democrats should be barred?

Mike Rogers may win again next month. The state Grand Oil Party sure did a great job of gerrymandering it make sure he never loses. That was once a swing, competitive district where the person was actually accountable to the voters. Now, Rogers just puts his name on the ballot, and that’s OK with you?

I have no idea when the last time a Democrat won a Senate or House seat in Livingston County. The last time a Democrat was on the board was 1996 when John Donahue passed away in office.