Rich Whitney, polling 8% for IL Gov, asks supporters to protest Chicago debate exclusion
September 29, 2010 in State Wide Elections
Illinois Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney was at 8% in a poll of Illinois voters, reports MyFoxChicago:
A survey of 1,000 likely Illinois voters conducted by Pulse Opinion Research shows that 46 percent support Brady, with 36 percent supporting Quinn. Green candidate Rich Whitney gets 8 percent of the vote, and 9 percent are undecided.
Whitney earned over 10% of the vote for governor in 2006, establishing the Green Party as a major party in Illinois. He recently wrote to supporters that his campaign needs more donations to be able to get his message out to likely supporters.
Despite Whitney’s strong showing in 2006 and a Public Policy Polling poll that put him at 11% in August, the Union League Club in Chicago has decided to exclude him from a candidate forum set for Wednesday 29 September. Whitney called on supporters to protest in a facebook note:
The Union League Club has decided to exclude me from their candidates’ forum tomorrow. I am asking supporters to please join me, if they are able, to protest my exclusion, beginning at 7:15 tomorrow morning outside their premises at 65 West Jackson in Chicago.
Executive Director David Kohn provided this rationale: “The ULCC’s policy for general election candidate fora involving statewide offices requires candidates to demonstrate support of at least 10% in an independent , statewide poll conducted in reasonable proximity to the forum. As the most recent statewide polls in the Illinois Governor’s race (conducted by Rasmussen Report, September 12; Chicago Tribune , September 3) show Mr. Whitney polling at 4% and 2%, respectively, Mr. Whitney does not meet this criterion and is, therefore, ineligible to participate in the forum.”
Besides getting the Rasmussen number wrong, the Club intentionally discredited the more reliable poll from Public Policy Polling, which had me at 11 percent on August 18, arbitrarily deciding that this was not “reasonable proximity” to the forum. Rasmussen and the Tribune are known to have institutional bias against the Green Party and their methods are highly suspect. But the larger point is why the Union League is even relying on polls in the first instance. My vote total in 2006 was three times the number of votes Bill Brady got in the 2010 primary. As I stated in a press release:
“Since the Union League prides itself as a civic organization, I would expect it to perform its civic duty to help inform Illinois voters of all the choices they have in the governor’s race, put to the test of debate — or at least comparison in a public forum — rather than attempt to bias the outcome by favoring only two candidates. The proper role of civic organizations like the Union League or the League of Women Voters is to help voters make an informed choice, not tell voters what to think. It is to help voters determine which is the best candidate, based on the issues, not helping promote some candidates over others, based on prior voting habits or institutional bias.
“Quinn and Brady already hold a media access advantage over me because, unlike me, they accept corporate cash to help promote their campaigns. They don’t need organizations like the Union League to give them an even more unfair advantage.”
The Union League’s decision does a serious disservice to voters by trying to influence the outcome rather than giving voters the opportunity to hear and choose the best candidate with the best answers to the problems facing the state.
Please join me in protest if you can. We will need to have a moving sidewalk picket. I would suggest signs that read, “Let Rich Debate” or “Let Voters Hear All Candidate’s Views!”
I’m appalled that we have to go through this again, after all we accomplished in 2006. Let’s make some noise! Please spread the word.
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