WV: Third Party Gov Candidates Seek a Fair Shake

Next month, there will be a special election for governor of West Virginia.  The office became vacant when the sitting governor was appointed to the US Senate seat formerly held by Robert Byrd.  There are at least five candidates in the race: a Democrat, a Republican, an Independent, a Mountain Party candidate (state affiliate of the Green party) and a candidate from a party called America's Third Position, which, as I understand it, is a white nationalist organization.  The third party candidates have, predictably, largely been ignored by local media and are systematically excluded from candidate forums and debates.  To their credit, 59 WVNS News has published a lengthy article on the three third party candidates in the race, and takes a look at some of the hurdles typically faced by those who stand in opposition to the Republican-Democrat two-party state.  Excerpt:
Bob Henry Baber and Harry Bertram are running for governor of West Virginia as third-party candidates. Marla Ingles is running as an independent for that same position. All three candidates say they have faced their fair share of struggles ahead of the Oct. 4 special gubernatorial election.

Baber, a Mountain Party candidate, said there is a ceiling no third-party candidates can push through.
"What happens is they say 'you guys don't show anything in the polls.' You won't show in the polls if the people can't hear your message," he said. "It's a self-fulfilling philosophy." . . .

Ingles, an independent who has never sought public office, also said she feels ignored. She attributes that to the fact that many West Virginia voters are "fully rooted in their political parties."

"I don't judge them for that. It's not my job," she said. "News reporters don't take us seriously, and the people are skeptical. They don't hear much about us because the press won't report on us, and we don't have millions to throw away." . . .

The former mayor of Richwood, Baber said he feels left out of the process because he has not been invited to speak at public events where the two major party candidates -- Democratic nominee acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Republican nominee Bill Maloney -- have appeared. Baber most recently was not invited to a debate sponsored by the West Virginia Broadcasters Association. His campaign maintains that leaving him out was not only unfair to him, but also to West Virginia voters.

"They have wiggled and created some sort of bogus rule that is really insulting to the people of West Virginia," Baber said. "They have decided for the people of West Virginia who they get to hear. It's un-American. If you're on the ballot, you should get to be part of the debate.". . . .

candidates can only increase their name recognition if others will allow them. The West Virginia Broadcasters Association hosted a debate between Maloney and Tomblin, but did not invite the other three candidates to participate. Executive Director Michele Crist said her organization has the right to produce its own content. She said things such as time restrictions prevent her from including all candidates in the debate.

"You have very little time for these people to get their platforms out there," she said. "The people we wanted were the Republican and Democratic challengers."

"We have no other agenda," she added. 
At least she admits that aiding the Republican and Democratic parties, and artificially maintaining appearances for the sake of the two-party dictatorship is their actual agenda.  The whole article is worth a read.  It contains a number of interesting tidbits.  For instance:
Public Policy Polling found in a survey released Sept. 7 that 14 percent of West Virginia voters are undecided. However, Tomblin and Maloney were the only two options respondents were given. But those polling results may not represent the true intentions of the voters.

Ingles [the Independent] said one unnamed polling firm contacted her for a survey recently. "They asked me 'Who are you going to vote for, Tomblin or Maloney?'" she said. "I said that I was going to vote for me. They said that was not an option and marked me as undecided."

No comments: