Four non-partisan candidates for U.S. Senate filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against organizers of the pair of upcoming debates between Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy, in an attempt to be included in the televised contests.
Steven Machat, a Miami-based music producer and author running as a no party affiliated (NPA) candidate, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Miami.
“The Florida U.S. Senate race is not a two-party race,” Machat’s campaign said. “Our intention is to give the citizens of Florida an informed and educated experience with all the candidates in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, not just one Democrat and one Republican, neither of which represent the majority of Florida’s voters.”
Other NPA Senate contenders are Basil Dalack of Tequesta, Tony Khoury of Coral Gables and Bruce Nathan of Palm City.
Murphy and Rubio have agreed to two debates, one Oct. 17 at WFTV-Orlando, sponsored by and the other Oct. 26, at Broward College.
The Orlando debate is sponsored by Cox Media Group, Politico Florida and ABC News. The Broward College debate is sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.
WFTV said its standard for inviting candidates was that they must draw at least 15 percent support in a credible poll. The NPA candidates in the Florida Senate race aren’t registering support close to that level.