While Haugh Gives Serious Answers, Hagan and Tillis Bicker

In case you missed the debate—or just want to see a replay of Sean Haugh, Libertarian for U.S. Senate, giving serious, thoughtful answers to moderator Jon Evans’ questions while the other two mostly recited talking points and traded petty personal accusations. Here is the replay.

For most of the debate, Sen. Kay Hagan and Speaker Thom Tillis attacked each other and repeated the talking points from their campaign ads.  Only Sean spoke directly to the issues throughout the debate.

In my opinion, Sean won the debate hands down. He actually answered the questions and addressed the issues. What a concept. But I am slightly biased, since he brought me into the Libertarian Party of North Carolina and is a good friend.

Here are some notable comments on Haugh’s performance.

He was who he is. And when you are comfortable enough in your own skin, that is something that comes across as, I think, genuineness. (Michael Bitzer, a political science professor at Catawba College in the Greensboro News & Record. The article also lead with a comment about Sean being included in the debate.)

The News & Observer also used this quote from Professor Bitzer in their sidebar analysis:

The interesting dynamic for the folks watching was Sean Haugh, who seemed to present both social and economic libertarianism that Democratic and Republican supporters would find appealing. In the end, Haugh may end up drawing enough votes to allow the ultimate winner to claim victory with less than 50 percent of the vote.

The Raleigh newspaper headlined their main story story “Interesting dynamic from Haugh in third debate for NC’s US Senate seat.”

The News & Observer also quoted David McLennan, Meredith College political science professor, in their analysis:

Voters who watched the debate were fortunate that Libertarian Sean Haugh was included because he broke up the relentless attack lines. I don’t think public opinion shifted as a result of the debate, except that Haugh may have created the possibility that neither Hagan nor Tillis reaches 50 percent on Nov. 4.

Not unsurprisingly, the Wilmington Star News, the major newspaper in the city where the debate was held, almost ignored Haugh in their story.

Other coverage

Asheville Citizen-Times

Charlotte Observer

Winston-Salem Journal


Free the Vote Sponsors All-Inclusive US Senate Debate


Free the Vote North Carolina and the Young Americans for Liberty at UNC Charlotte are sponsoring North Carolina’s only all-inclusive U.S. Senate candidates debate on Friday, Oct. 17 in McKnight Hall on the UNC Charlotte campus at 7 p.m.

All the candidates whose name will appear on the ballot, as well as those who have qualified to have their write-in votes counted, have been invited.

“With most debates this election cycle excluding at least one qualified candidate, Free the Vote NC felt it was necessary to provide the voters of North Carolina with a real debate where the voters are not shown who to vote for, but to let the voters make the decision for themselves,” said Jordon Greene, Free the Vote founder and president.

The debate will be also be sponsored by the Carolina Liberty PAC, and CAUTION (the activists arm of Charlotte TEA Party).

Candidates who have been invited include: Democrat Kay Hagan, Republican Thom Tills and Libertarian Sean Haugh, whose names will all appear on the ballot. In addition, Free the Vote has invited the certified write-in candidates: Barry Gurney, John Rhodes, and David Waddell.

Sponsoring an all-inclusive debate is in keeping with the mission of Free the Vote North Carolina, which is to eliminate eliminating barriers to participation in the electoral process. This event will help give voters the information they need to vote for the person of their choice without the debate holders making that choice for them.

The debate will be aired live online. More information will be available closer to the date.

All candidates should debate

Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers is apparently unwilling to debate her Democratic opponent in the 2nd Congressional District, according to the News & Observer. Steve Wilkins told the newspaper that Ellmers has turned down an invitation to debate on WTVD-TV.

I feel your pain Mr. Wilkins. I believe all ballot-qualified candidates should agree to debate, anywhere and in any venue, and that the media has a duty and obligation to cover all candidates fairly and equally. I think all ballot-qualified candidates should be invited to debates by the sponsors and organizers.

Unfortunately, WTVD and WRAL apparently don’t believe that. I wasn’t invited to take part in the WTVD debate. Nor will WRAL allow me to tape a video for their online candidate guide, a service they’ve offered to the Republican and Democratic candidates.

I believe anyone in office, or seeking office, has a duty and responsibility to accept any and all invitations to speak to groups and especially to debate. Mrs. Ellmers herself has noted that she’s new to the district due to redistricting. That should make such personal contact even more important.

The model I’m using for my campaign is the same model I will use if elected, that of the citizen-servant envisioned by our nation’s founders when they wrote the Constitution.

No amount of flashy TV advertising can substitute for actually meeting and talking with your constituents.

Broadcasters exlude Libertarian candidate

After participating in the first two U.S. Senate candidate debates, Libertarian Mike Beitler is being snubbed by the N.C. Association of Broadcasters for the debates they are sponsoring October 11 and 23.

The Beitler campaign first learned about the debates in late August from media reports. A campaign spokesman said that the association did not respond to repeated telephone calls and e-mail messages regarding the debate.

“We can only assume that the rumors are correct and that the NCAB is cash strapped and simply does not have the equipment necessary to host another candidate,” said Michael Shanklin, campaign manager. “Mike Beitler is willing to bring his own mic to this event. If necessary we will build our own podium as well.”

Association president Tim Morrisey told the Associated Press that Beitler hadn’t been invited because surveys fail to show him with at least 10 percent support. According to sources, the debate criteria is based on only one poll, conducted by Elon University, which does not restrict itself to registered voters. The sources said that Beitler might be included if he polls over 10 percent in a poll due out next week.

Libertarian state chair Barbara Howe called the debate rules arbitrary and unfair, especially since most polls do not include the Libertarian candidate as one of their choices.

“Often polling doesn’t even include the Libertarian candidate, so it’s impossible for a Libertarian candidate to poll any numbers at all,” she said. “It’s a disservice to the voters of North Carolina not to include all the ballot-qualified candidates.”

It is unclear exactly which Elon poll the NCAB is using as a criteria for debate inclusion. Morrisey did not respond to a request for information. The most recent poll of U.S. Senate candidates on the university’s website was published March 22. Beitler was included, but his name was incorrect. The question asked respondents to rate all the candidates in the Democratic and Republican primary on a scale of one to ten.

“The broadcasters association is not interested in informing the public,” Howe said. “It’s about protecting the interests of broadcasters.”

Beitler will participate in a televised debate October 13 sponsored by the N.C. League of Women Voters.

“We believe we’re being treated unfairly, but we are not surprised. Burr and Marshall are both worried about how many votes we are taking from them,” Beitler said. He said that if the association’s educational foundation, which is sponsoring the event, has tax-exempt status, they should lose it. “They are not educational, they are clearly political,” he said.

In 2004, Howe filed a complaint with the FCC against WRAL-TV for failing to include her in a gubernatorial debate. The FCC has never issued a ruling. The 2008 Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dr. Mike Munger was included in only one of the three televised debates in that campaign, which was also sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

Both the Burr and Marshall campaigns have said they believe it’s unfair not to include Beitler in all the debates, but neither campaign is taking any action to support including the Libertarian candidate.