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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Linn still in, but appeal filed



Organizers of tonight's debate have set up three podiums following Max Linn's court victory Monday. But an appeal has been filed to keep the Reform Party candidate out.

As of 4 p.m., there had been no resolution to the dispute.

"We have no opinion with respect to any candidate and we fully respect Mr. Linn's right to candidacy," said Jeff Bartel, chairman of Leadership Florida, which filed the appeal Tuesday morning along with the Florida Press Association and Florida Public Broadcasting.

But Bartel said inclusion was determined by public opinion polls, of which Linn barely measures, "so the debate itself was not diluted and was as robust as possible." The use of polls has successfully withstood past challenges by minor candidates, but not always.

"We are not playing judge and jury," Bartel said.

The debate is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

UPDATE: Key to the defendants’ appeal are two points:

1) The debate group had set a standard that participants were limited to candidates who could show polling at least 10 percent in two different independent, statewide polls. Linn, the appeal said, “never furnished a single poll to Leadership Florida or the other debate partners showing he could qualify for the debate based on these standards.”
2) That the trial judge’s ruling is contrary to established common law, including a 1998 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Arkansas Educational Television Commission v. Forbes, that found  a state-owned public television station didn’t have to allow an independent candidate to participate in a state-sponsored debate. “In short, there is no case in which a court has ruled against a public television station and its debate sponsors on facts like those presented here,” the appeal states.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:33am]


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