Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and Republican Congressman Todd Akin will debate each other at Clayton High School Thursday night.
Noticeably absent, however, is the Libertarian candidate that could influence the outcome of the Senate race: Jonathan Dine.
According to a recent poll, Dine is garnering about 9 percent of the vote, which is rather uncommon for a third party candidate in the United States.
"It's pretty good for a Libertarian candidate," Dine said on St. Louis on the Air. "It should qualify for inclusion in debates."
Republicans are concerned Dine’s candidacy will siphon conservative votes away from Congressman Todd Akin, as he vies to unseat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill. McCaskill has used Akin’s incendiary comments about “legitimate rape” in a series of campaign ads over the past month.
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is hosting the debate, which is sponsored by KSDK, the St. Louis Business Journal and St. Louis Public Radio.
Dine said that he contacted the Clayton Chamber of Commerce after he was excluded. The Chamber released a statement saying:
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce, a private not-for-profit entity, has sought to host a live-broadcast debate between Missouri candidates for the United States Senate. Based on polling- based plurality of support and the time limitations of a live broadcast, the Chamber invited Senator McCaskill and Congressman Akin to be the participants. The Chamber stands by its decision.
Dine disagrees with the Chamber's decision.
"Debates should be about candidates debating the issues in an un-scripted manner," Dine said. "The people of Missouri deserve to hear all the candidates talk about all the issues so they can make an informed decision."
The debate will be broadcast Thursday night on KSDK and over the radio at 90.7 FM, or online here at stlpublicradio.org.
Although Dine will not be at that debate, Dine will be joining St. Louis Public Radio on Friday morning to answer the same questions. That entire discussion will be available online.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel
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