Breaking News: Kucinich Allowed In Debate
Dennis Kucinich, Democratic Presidential Candidate and Ohio Congressman, will be allowed to participate in tomorrow's Nevada debate in the wake of a lawsuit his legal team filed in Clark County, Nev., his lawyer said today.
Kucinich filed the lawsuit in Nevada this morning alleging that his exclusion in the Jan. 15 Las Vegas Democratic Presidential debate would have caused, "irreparable harm to the public interest by robbing voters of the opportunity to hear his policy platform..."
"The proper enforcement of the Federal Communications Act," the lawsuit continues, "ensures America's voters that they will have the ability to vote for candidates with varied and new ideas and policies."
This afternoon, a Clark County District Court judge agreed.
"The judge decided to issue an order ordering NBC to allow Dennis to participate in the debate," said Don McTigue, head counsel for Kucinich. "We're very pleased."
Lawyers for Kucinich were confident the judge would side with them, given their belief in the candidate's political standing and the ground rules for the debate.
"Kucinich is a credible and serious candidate in Nevada," the lawsuit reads. "Kucinich also receives widespread national support and has been the winner in national online polls..."
While he reinforced Kucinich's viability as a candidate, McTigue also took aim at the debate structure.
"[NBC] established a criteria to invite people to participate and you don't get to change the rules," he said. "There was no clear reason for excluding him other than what seems obvious to us. Our legal position was very strong."
Originally, MSNBC called for the top four candidates to participate, but, after Gov. Bill Richardson dropped out of the race last week, MSNBC invited just the top three Democratic contenders-Sens. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards-to debate each other.
After Richardson dropped out, NBC Political Director Chuck Todd informed Kucinich that he would be excluded from the debate because, "NBC only wanted the participation of the top 3 candidates."
That field will once again grow to four when the action to allow Kucinich to participate becomes official at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning when the order will be filed in court, McTigue said.
Photo of Kucinich by Dennis Kucinich via Flickr.