The sponsor of the final debate of the Virginia governor’s race, citing a public backlash to the Libertarian candidate’s exclusion, has asked the major-party candidates to consider letting him participate. But Robert Sarvis still appears unlikely to be included in the event because of ongoing opposition from Ken Cuccinelli II’s campaign.
Cuccinelli (R) and Terry McAuliffe (D) will meet Thursday at Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg campus for their third debate of the contest, sponsored by WDBJ-TV, the Roanoke CBS affiliate. Sarvis did not make the cut, WDBJ announced on Oct. 10, because he failed to meet the threshold established in rules negotiated by Cuccinelli, McAuliffe and WDBJ.
The rules required that Sarvis average at least 10 percent in public polls, a standard he missed by a fraction of a point. (As of Saturday evening, Sarvis’s poll average on the RealClearPolitics website was 9.8 percent.)
But on Friday, according to an email obtained by the Washington Post, WDBJ’s news director, Kelly Zuber, wrote to the McAuliffe and Cuccinelli campaigns, “We have received quite a bit of negative reaction to the exclusion” of Sarvis.
“WDBJ7 will live up to the agreement we have with both of your campaigns,” Zuber continued, “but want you to know we would certainly entertain an amendment to the agreement allowing Mr. Sarvis to participate with no restrictions.”