Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fringe Candidate John Cox Barred from Debate

Below is an article in Saturday's "The State" (SC) newspaper discussing the failure of fringe presidential candidate John Cox to use the courts to force the SC GOP to include him in Tuesday's debate.

It's clear that he isn't a serious candidate in South Carolina (or elsewhere, actually - watch for the "money quote" in this article) and the court saw through his dangerous dog-and-pony show as he tried to prove the courts should be in the business of ordering political parties to place fringe candidates onto a stage for which THE PARTY has paid.

It's interesting that his lawyer in this case (who also happens to be his law partner in Chicago) discounted Cox's chances for victory in '08 in an interview the LA Times late last year, saying, "Realistically, he's a long shot." No kidding.

Judge denies John Cox’s bid to participate in S.C. forum

Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate in Columbia is still on, and Illinois hopeful John Cox, who wants to be in the debate, is still out.

A federal judge rejected Cox’s suit to halt the debate, which has been in planning for months by Fox News and the S.C. Republican Party, ruling the sponsors had no obligation to include him.
“This is a nonpublic forum,” said Judge Joe Anderson. The debate will be telecast nationally, and Fox News and the S.C. GOP, acting as private parties, have the right to choose who will be in the debate, as long as their exclusions are not based on a candidate’s political viewpoint, Anderson said.

Ten candidates will participate in the Republican debate, scheduled for 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Koger Center.

S.C. GOP attorney Lawrence Richter argued that Cox, who also did not participate in the May 3 Republican debate in California, did not meet the criteria to be included in the South Carolina face-off.

Those criteria require debate participants to have received at least 1 percent of the vote in a recent state or national poll leading up to the May 1 registration deadline. The participants also had to pay a $25,000 filing fee to the state GOP and be a serious candidate for president.
Cox’s attorney, Christopher Oakes, argued that the debate is a public forum and that the media and the party prevent candidates like Cox from polling well by leaving their names off polling data.

Further, Oakes argued that other little-known candidates such as former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore and 10-term Texas congressman Ron Paul also hadn’t polled the requisite 1 percent in both a state and national poll, but will be allowed to debate Tuesday.

After Anderson asked the two sides to resolve the polling issue among themselves, Richter and Fox News attorney Vernon Dunbar of Greenville put up a poll contradicting Oakes’ claim.

“The record is not clear whether or not some candidates invited have met the 1 percent threshold,” Anderson said in issuing his ruling. “But it is clear that Mr. Cox has not.” [Note: This is a PRICELESS quote!]

Oakes said he and his client will discuss the ruling and decide whether to appeal Anderson’s decision Monday in the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia.

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