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Third-Party Congressional Candidate Calls Foul on WCVB

The Libertarian candidate in the Sixth Congressional District is not invited to attend a debate hosted by channel 5.

For a recent Fox 25 debate, U.S. Rep. John Tierney chose not to attend. But now, another local news station is asking another candidate to do the same.

Libertarian candidate for Congress Daniel Fishman says that he doesn't qualify to participate in WCVB's hour-long debate to be held on Oct. 25.

"My first reaction was shock," Fishman wrote on his Web site. "At each debate we have put on a strong performance, and at each debate our ranks have swelled. Our campaign has serious momentum."

Fishman collected the required signatures by the deadline and will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot in the Sixth Congressional District, which includes Hamilton and Wenham.

Only Tierney (D-Salem) and Republican challenge Richard Tisei of Wakefield meet WCVB's criteia and will appear in the debate, which will happen as part of the show "On the Record."

In addition to the 10-minute long debate on Fox 25, Fishman has already in two other debates - one sponsored by MassINC in Lynn and another this week at Danvers High School sponsored by the Salem News and Jewish Journal.

Participation in the WCVB debate, Fishman said, depended on certain criteria: A candidate must have a certain number of staff members, a daily campaign schedule, communicate on a regular basis with news media, garner at least 10 percent in two recent independent polls and have campaign contributions of at least $50,000.

Fishman said he does not have $50,000 in campaign contributions because he chooses not to accept corporate donations.

"Are you trying to tell me that they don't think I'm qualified to be in a debate because of a principle that there is too much corporate money in government?" Fishman wrote.

Fishman is calling on his supporters to speak up and contact WCVB about these rules.

What do you think? Should Fishman be allowed to participate in the WCVB debate? Leave a comment below and discuss.

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