U.S. Senate candidate Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel, is fuming over a recent announcement that he will be excluded from one of the major televised debates for the U.S. Senate candidates.
"I know it's saying a lot, but we possibly reached the lowest point in the democratic process in Louisiana history on September 29, 2016," Maness, a Republican, said in a statement.
On Thursday, the Council for a Better Louisiana announced that five candidates had been invited to take part in their Oct. 18 debate which will take place at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston and air across the state on Louisiana Public Broadcasting channels.
Of the 24 candidates on the ballot, only Republicans U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, U.S. Rep. John Fleming, State Treasurer John Kennedy and Democrats Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and New Orleans attorney Caroline Fayard were invited to participate in the debate.
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CABL said participants had to poll at least 5 percent in a nonpartisan or news media poll after qualifying, and they had to have raised at least $1 million in campaign funds.
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Maness has polled at 4 percent or less in recent polls. Other candidates who didn't make the cut are former Congressman Joseph Cao and Troy Hebert, a former state senator and commissioner of the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control. Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke also didn't qualify.
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It's the first of the major televised debates to release the list of people invited to participate.
Maness ran for the Senate seat in 2014 coming in third to Mary Landrieu and Bill Cassidy, and pulling 14 percent of the vote which was not enough to get into the runoff.
Maness criticized CABL calling it a partisan organization that excluded him for being against Common Core.
"It was announced that Louisiana Public Broadcasting will use the tax dollars of Louisiana citizens to televise a debate on behalf of the partisan Council for a Better Louisiana, the leading advocate for Common Core and expanded Medicaid, and exclude the only candidate who will eliminate Common Core and eliminate the Jimmy Carter created Federal Department of Education from this taxpayer funded debate," he said in his statement.
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He announced that before the event airs he will host a live broadcast on Facebook live where he will discuss his own platform. He said he believes the viewership for his Facebook live event will exceed the viewership of the debate.