Judge: It’s OK not to invite Ferre to debate

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From the News Service of Florida: A circuit judge in Miami on Monday declined to order organizers of a U.S. Senate debate to include Democratic candidate Maurice Ferre, saying with the debate in Orlando the case should have been filed there, or in Tallahassee where the organizers are based. The debate on Tuesday in Orlando is put on by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association, which said Ferre isn’t polling high enough to be included. DemocratsKendrick Meek and Jeff Greene will participate in the debate. A Ferre campaign spokeswoman said the invitations were sent before the poll used to exclude the candidate was even taken, but also said using polling to determine a candidate’s viability isn’t totally fair either. Press often base coverage decisions and debate organizers make participation decisions based on poll results. But if a candidate doesn’t get coverage and doesn’t get included in heavily-covered events like debates, they never get poll results or campaign contributions, said Ferre spokeswoman Elizabeth Tetreault. “Private organizations like Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association have the right to hold debates the way they want,” Tetreault said. “But why don’t we just pull up four chairs and have all the candidates debate?” One other little-known Democrat, Glenn Burkett, will be on the ballot.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.