Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson is suing Kentucky Educational Television over his exclusion from an upcoming debate.
David Patterson is asking a federal judge to order KET to include him in the October 13 exchange.
Patterson’s name will appear on the November ballot, but KET says he wasn’t invited to the debate because he didn’t meet the network’s criteria, which says a candidate must have at least $100,000 in donations and be polling at least ten percent in a survey conducted by an independent pollster, among other requirements.
"The original criteria were put into place in March and at that time, Mr. Patterson met three of the four criteria, and only had to meet one," explained Patterson's attorney Chris Wiest. "Following the primary, KET modified the debate criteria to require that four separate criteria all be met. In doing that, internal emails from KET indicated they did it for the purpose of excluding third party candidates."
The lawsuit alleges that Patterson's 1st and 14th amendment rights were violated. A KET spokesman told WKU Public Radio that the network does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Patterson, a Harrodsburg police officer, is an underdog against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes who have raised millions of dollars in one of the country’s most competitive races.
Kentucky has just over 4,100 registered Libertarians, according the the Secretary of State's Office.
The Kentucky chapter of the ACLU is asking Kentucky Educational Television to adopt more inclusive rules related to who it invites to appear on its televised debates.
The Courier-Journal reports that the legal director for the Kentucky ACLU sent a letter to KET saying the statewide broadcaster might be running afoul of federal law due to changes it made to it rules regarding debates.
A copy of the rules sent to WKU Public Radio by KET stated that candidates invited to appear at its U.S. Senate debate must have accepted at least $100,000 in contributions for the current election. Another rule says that those invited must have at least 10 points of support in a public opinion survey conducted by an independent pollster.
The ex-wife of a former Kentucky lawmaker serving life in prison for murder has agreed to a public television interview this weekend.
Tracey Damron is scheduled to appear on the KET show One to One with Bill Goodman.
Damron was married to Steve Nunn, a long-time lawmaker and son of a former Kentucky governor, from 1996 to 2006. Nunn was charged with murder in the 2009 shooting death of his former fiancee, Amanda Ross. He pleaded guilty in 2011.
The show airs Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT, and will be re-aired July 23 and July 24 at 7:30 a.m. EDT.
Damron is appearing on the show to promote a book she has written about her marriage to Nunn, called "A Trail of Feathers."