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Candidate Buckley Slams AARP, WV Press Association, and WV Public Broadcasting Over Debates

Press Release received from Libertarian Party of WV

John Buckley, the Libertarian Party candidate for Secretary of State, today castigated the three proposed hosts of what would be an October “closed-to-the-competition” publicly broadcast debate limited to just the Republican and Democratic candidates for Governor. “Shame on the media and so-called ‘public’ broadcasting,” declared Buckley, “for once again turning their back on the public’s demonstrated interest in considering other candidates.” Libertarian Party candidate for Governor, David Moran, was formally nominated at the party’s May 7 convention, which generated front-page coverage in the Charleston Gazette and in West Virginia’s preeminent weekly business publication, The State Journal.

The three proposed hosts of the limited-participation debate – the WV Press Association, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, AARP West Virginia – held a similar GOP/Democrat restricted debate in 2014 for United States Senate, from which three other candidates, including Buckley for the Libertarian Party, were excluded.

“West Virginia Public Broadcasting should be condemned for using the public’s tax dollars to prop up the political power of Republicans and Democrats,” said Buckley. “The WV Press Association is turning its back on the public interest in fair media coverage of all the candidates who have qualified for the ballot,” he added. “And it’s no wonder that AARP, one of the major lobbies for more government subsidies, bailouts, and status quo politics, seeks to trade political favors in return for continued insider access to the halls of power.” The Libertarian Party opposes government favoritism and the continued growth of state spending and taxes. “Perhaps the AARP is afraid the public might like what Libertarians have to say about smaller government,” Buckley suggested.

“If the topsy-turvy events of the current presidential election process have proved anything, it is that voters are absolutely sick to death of politics as usual,” Buckley observed. This exclusive debate is nothing better than the three sponsors responding “drop dead” to the public’s demand for clean, open elections.

“If elected Secretary of State,” Buckley vowed, “I will use that office as a bully pulpit in favor of fair, transparent elections, including in particular the advocacy of inclusive debates among candidates for public office.”

The Libertarian Party is West Virginia’s third-largest political party and is fielding candidates for all six of the statewide offices up for election this year. In addition to Moran, of Preston County, for Governor and Buckley, of Hardy County, for Secretary of State, the Libertarian Party of West Virginia (LPWV) is running Karl Kolenich, Upshur County, for Attorney General; Brent Ricketts, Jefferson County, for Auditor; Michael Young, Putnam County, for Treasurer; and Buddy Guthrie, Monongalia County, for Commissioner of Agriculture. In addition, the LPWV has nominated Zane Lawhorn of Mercer County for United States House of Representatives in the 3rd Congressional District and several candidates for House of Delegates, State Senate, and local office.