Adrian Wyllie, the Libertarian candidate for Florida governor, insists he is eligible for a candidate forum next week – and is willing to go to jail to make his point.
Attempting to stay relevant in the increasingly heated gubernatorial race, Wylie posted on Facebook Saturday an open letter to the Florida Press Association and the Florida Society of News Editors; he “refuses” to accept the rules set for the Gubernatorial Candidate Forum on Thursday, July 10.
The forum is part of the at the 2014 FPA/FSNE Annual Convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables.
Likely Democratic nominee Charlie Crist plans on attending. Fellow Democrat Nan Rich announced on her website that she “accepted an invitation to speak” at the event on the same day, but it was unclear if she would share the stage with Crist.
Gov. Rick Scott decided not to appear at the forum.
Wylie’s Facebook post rebutted his “lack of criteria” set by the FPA/FSNE for inclusion in the discussion, along with an angry warning; he will indeed show up at the event, insisting on taking the stage with the other candidates.
“Or you may have me arrested,” he adds. “Govern yourselves accordingly.”
Wyllie also castigated the group for denying the people of Florida “a third option” by excluding the libertarian, stating that only Democrats and Republicans were allowed to contribute.
Among the conditions listed online for a candidate’s participation in FPA-FSNE Gubernatorial Forum:
A major party candidate (i.e., Republican and Democratic parties) must appear as a candidate for Governor on his or her party’s Florida primary ballot. In the case of multiple candidates, the candidate must have at least 12% support (including the full benefit of 4% +/- margin of error, based on a minimum sample size of 400 among all likely voters who will participate in that candidate’s primary) as determined by an independent poll as to be determined exclusively by FPA/FSNE. Such poll shall be conducted and completed at least 30 days before the forums scheduled for July 10 and 11, 2014.
In addition, candidates must belong to a party that has at least 5% of the registered voters in Florida or must have raised a minimum of $250,000 by May 1, 2014.
In the most recent polling — including a StPetePolls survey conducted August 2013 — Wyllie receives between 6% and 9% support. As of June 27, he has raised only $33,158, according to the Florida Division of Elections.
Here is the full text of Wyllie’s Facebook post:
Members of the Press,
As the only third-party candidate for Florida’s governor, I am extremely disappointed in your failure to include me in your upcoming gubernatorial candidate forum at the 2014 FPA/FSNE Convention. Your exclusion of a viable third-party candidate is unacceptable, and exposes an entrenched bias in the FPA/FSNE approach to political coverage.
You will likely respond by saying that you have created ‘criteria’ for inclusion in the forum and you will then claim that I have failed to meet said criteria.
Please, allow me to preempt your likely rebuttal.
The criteria you have created make it absolutely impossible for any minor party candidate to participate, by its very definition. According to your stated rules, in order to be included, “a candidate must belong to a party that has at least 5% of the registered voters in Florida.”
The legal definition of a minor party in Florida is one that has less than 5% of the registered voters in the state. Therefore, your criteria guarantee that only Republican and Democrat candidates can participate.
Regardless of whether I have met your other, arbitrary criteria for polling and fundraising, the simple fact that I am not a Republican or Democrat would prohibit me from participating.
I have little doubt that this was entirely by design.
We will no longer allow you to stifle the voices of viable candidates, nor limit the informed choices of Florida voters.
Therefore, I refuse to accept your rules, and I present you with the following ultimatum. I will attend the FPA/FSNE Gubernatorial Forum on July 10th in Coral Gables. You may either allow me to participate in the forum, or you may have me arrested.
You have no third option … As you have denied the people of Florida a third option. Govern yourselves accordingly.
Libertarian for Florida Governor