Libertarian Mark Tippetts excluded from TX governor debate, despite top-3 polling

Let Mark debate — Mark Tippetts, Libertarian Party candidate for governor of Texas

Polling in the 2018 Texas governor’s race shows Libertarian Mark Tippetts solidly in third place, with a huge 16 percent of voters undecided, according to the poll with the largest sample size to date conducted in June by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune. Despite this, the Nexstar Media Group has completely disregarded these polling results and political fairness by excluding Tippets from a gubernatorial debate scheduled for Sept. 28 in Austin. It has invited only Republican incumbent Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Lupe Valdez. Polling also shows that none of the candidates has a majority.

The debate will be broadcast online and during prime time on the 12 stations Nexstar owns in Texas, as well as partner stations in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, effectively reaching most of Texas voters.

“There is a candidate’s debate coming this fall, and the voters deserve to hear from all the candidates who will be on the ballot,” Tippetts said. “The Republicans and Democrats have colluded to exclude me because they don’t want you, the voters, to hear the only candidate with ideas rooted in personal liberty. Greg Abbott doesn’t care about your rights. Lupe Valdez is economically illiterate. There will be exactly one candidate on the ballot in November who respects your personal liberty as well as your wallet. Do you agree? Then join us in this fight to have our voice heard. The Libertarian Party of Texas has fulfilled every requirement to attain ballot access. If we are on the ballot, we should be in the debate. Texas voters deserve to know all their choices. I await an invitation from Nexstar.”

Political debate provides an opportunity for candidates to explain why their plans and solutions will provide the best outcome for voters, so any candidate with confidence in their own vision should welcome the chance to differentiate themselves from the competition.

“If you believe you have the best ideas for Texas, then you should fear nothing from me,” Tippets said, addressing his Republican and Democratic opponents. “Allowing only two voices to be heard shows that you are not interested in representing all Texans. If that isn’t the case, then include every candidate who is on the ballot in November and give Texas the honest election she deserves.”

Tippetts was nominated at the Texas Libertarian Party Convention last April in a competitive four-way race. He recently served on the Lago Vista City Council. As a bilingual and bicultural man who was born in Mexico, Tippetts has made immigration one of his signature issues as a gubernatorial candidate. He opposes “the embarrassing behavior of Donald Trump and his absurd attacks on immigrants and building of walls. Making enemies with our neighbors and erecting walls between us is foolish. Abbott has signed on to Trump’s nativist fear mongering.”

Valdez opposed legislation signed by Abbott last year that requires Texas law enforcement officials to cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. In her former position as Dallas County Sheriff, however, she cooperated with the federal government on immigration issues. As a result, she only barely won the Latino vote in her primary against Andrew White, the son of a former Texas governor.

Tippetts supports the pioneering leadership of the Libertarian Party in favor of gay rights. John Hospers, the first Libertarian presidential candidate in 1972, was openly gay when living that way was against the law in Texas and much of the rest of the country. Valdez, on the other hand, despite being a lesbian, failed to receive primary endorsements from either the Houston GLBT Political Caucus or the Houston Stonewall Young Democrats.

Meanwhile, Abbott’s credentials on economic issues include a heavy helping of crony capitalism. He has championed the Texas Enterprise Fund, a $230 million honeypot theoretically designed to lure big businesses to Texas at the expense of taxpayers and market competitors.

“Bribery is not a very good method for recruiting business to Texas,” Tippetts said. “And it rarely works.”

Both Abbott and Valdez represent different flavors of the tired and broken political status quo. Only by electing Libertarians like Tippetts can Texans ensure individual rights are protected across the board.

“Texans who support making immigration easier rather than harder, who support respect for alternative lifestyles, and who reject the injustice of government playing favorites with business will flock to the Libertarian message,” Tippetts said. “They just need to hear it.”

Tippetts supporters are conducting a social media campaign that calls for including the Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate in Nexstar’s September debate. Participants in the campaign can use the hashtags #LetMarkDebate, #StopTheDuopoly, #TexasPolitics, and #EndTwoPartyRule, as well as calling Nexstar Media Group at (972) 373-8800.