MA Special Election: the Debate on the Debates II

Following the Boston Globe's explicit statement of support for duopolized Democratic-Republican debates leading up to the special election for US Senate in Massachusetts, the Boston Herald appears to be coming out in support of an inclusive debate format with a set of three articles released today. The Herald's, Hillary Chabot interviews independent US Senate candidate Joe Kennedy about the state of his campaign and his inclusion in upcoming debates:

Front-runner Democrat Martha Coakley, vying for a Senate seat against Republican Scott Brown, is pushing to open debates to a longshot third-party newcomer who says he has “no idea what my chances are” in the race to succeed Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

“I haven’t hired any pollsters,” said Joseph L. Kennedy, an unenrolled candidate who has never run for public office and has only four part-time campaign staffers and $20,000 in his war chest.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m running to win, but a lot of it is not about Joe Kennedy running and winning. A lot of it is about you have three people who have three different ideas - who do you want to represent you?” . . .

But this champion of small government says he’s counting on media exposure he gains in the debates and on the campaign trail to vault him past his better-known and better financed major party opponents.
The Herald's Jessica Heslam, on the other hand, interviews Grace Ross, independent Green Rainbow candidate for governor in 2006, who "took part in all four of the race’s major debates as the media embraced diversity in the race." Heslam writes:
the Boston Globe ran an editorial yesterday saying voters deserve one-on-one debates between Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley and Republican state Sen. Scott Brown.

Ross disagrees. “If you’ve done enough work to manage to get your name on the ballot, which is not a small task in a statewide election, the voters have a right for information,” she said . . .

Ross said yesterday that the media has forgotten its role. “They want to make themselves into political players where they get to say - instead of the voters - who is worthy of being heard and who isn’t,” she said.

Finally, in an opinion piece for the Herald, Wayne Woodlief calls on sponsors to "open debates to all":

Martha Coakley is right on the principle and smart on the politics in urging three-way debates, not head-to-head combat against Republican Scott Brown, in the Jan. 19 special Senate election for Ted Kennedy’s seat.

The AG strikes a blow for full representation by insisting that libertarian Joseph L. Kennedy of Dedham, running as an independent, also be on the stage. He earned a right to debate by getting 13,998 validated signatures - well over the 10,000 required - with winter dawning, to boot . . .

Voters need to hear from this Joe, too. Sure, he’s a long shot. But so is Brown. And Kennedy would offer some variety. He told me, “There’s no difference between the two parties. With Bush we saw wasteful spending, huge debt and costly invasion of other countries. And Obama has just continued all that. He inherited a mess but he’s dealt with it with new trillion dollar bailouts and war-mongering, too.”

Thanks to Kennedy Seat for its morning roundup.

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