As he said he would do, Libertarian Party of Florida gubernatorial candidate Adrian Wyllie is suing the host and sponsors of next Tuesday night's gubernatorial debate in Fort Lauderdale because he is being excluded from participating in it. The suit goes after Broward College, the site of the debate, and the two organizations sponsoring it: the Leadership Florida Statewide Community Foundation and the Florida Press Association.
"After Wyllie had reached the required polling percentage to be included in a prior debate, Defendants arbitrarily changed the criteria, which, by their plain language are entirely illusory," the suit reads. "Due to this purposefully exclusive increase in criteria, Wyllie is being excluded from the debate by the Defendants."
Wyllie's beef is that he was originally told by the organizations hosting the October 21 debate from Broward College that if he was at or above 12 percent in the polls, he would be able to participate with the Republican and Democratic Party nominees, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist. But then organizers moved the goalposts on him, raising the criteria to 15 percent, a figure that Wyllie came close to achieving last week, when an Optimus poll had him at 13 percent.
The suit alleges that, at the Florida Press Association and Florida Society of News Editor Convention in July, Wyllie spoke with Dean Ridings of the FPA about his inclusion in a political forum that was happening on that date. Wyllie said he was told by Ridings that he could only be included if he was polling at 12 percent. "With a margin of 4% they would only have to reach 8% to be included.” Wyllie was not allowed to participate in that event because he wasn't that high in the polls at the time.
He has since been polling anywhere from 8-13 percent, and is definitely a major player in this year's gubernatorial campaign.
That's different than in 2006, when Wyllie's attorney, Luke Lirot, was able to successfully sue to get another third-party candidate, Max Linn, into a debate between Charlie Crist and Jim Davis.
Next Tuesday's debate in Fort Lauderdale is the second of three scheduled debates to take place within the next couple of weeks. The first debate takes place tomorrow morning at the studios of Telemundo in Miami at 11:00 a.m., and will be broadcast statewide at 7 p.m.