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Government, Politics & Issues

Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate laments decision to exclude him from TV debate

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 15, 2012 - Jonathan Dine, the Libertarian candidate for Missouri’s U.S. Senate seat, is unhappy – but not surprised – that he won’t be part of Thursday’s televised debate between Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill and Republican rival Todd Akin.

The debate is slated for Thursday evening at Clayton High School.  The hosts include KSDK-TV (Channel 5), the St. Louis Business Journal and St. Louis Public Radio.  The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is the sponsor.

Dine said in an interview that organizers made a mistake since he could well determine the Senate winner – even if he is not it.

At least one of the latest polls has shown Dine winning support from 9 percent of those polled, which could make the difference in a close McCaskill-Akin contest.

“A lot of people are looking for an alternative,’’ said Dine, who believes he could be the preferred choice of voters who object to Akin’s socially conservative views, but who also dislike McCaskill’s record.

Dine snagged some attention during the Sept. 21 forum in Columbia, which was broadcast on radio. He ignited cheers and chuckles from the audience when he declared, “I promise to keep the Republicans out of your bedroom and the Democrats out of your wallet.”

A personal trainer, Dine says his chief message is less government spending and less government.

Dine says he has collected more campaign money although he has yet to file any significant money-raising with the Federal Election Commission. He emphasizes that he has been actively campaigning and attending events.

Dine hopes that he will be included if another Senate debate is held before the election. His argument, he said, isn’t just about him. “I truly believe the debate should be about all the candidates debating all the issues.”

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