Libertarian candidate protests exclusion from debates

Chris Rizo Oct. 7, 2008, 12:19pm

W. Andrew McCullough (L)

SALT LAKE CITY (Legal Newsline)-The Libertarian candidate in Utah's attorney general's race said Tuesday he is being unfairly excluded from a pair of debates organized by arms of the University of Utah.

"It made me a little unhappy, which is why I thought I'd protest a little," said W. Andrew McCullough, who is taking out ads criticizing the Hinckley Institute of Politics and KUED-TV for not including him in their candidate forums.

McCullough told Legal Newsline he took out an ad in Tuesday's edition of The Daily Utah Chronicle, the student newspaper at the University of Utah, criticizing their decision to count him out because he has less than 5 percent support in the polls.

He said the debates sponsored by the taxpayer-supported Hinckley Institute of Politics and KUED should be open to declared candidates.

The 59-year-old First Amendment lawyer, whose legal practice focuses on representing strip joints, porno shops and massage parlors, ran for Utah attorney general in 2000 and in 2004.

He said when he ran in 2000, he polled at 4 percent support and organizers of the KUED debate said he was close enough in terms of meeting the minimum criteria.

"I've got a presence this year that I never thought I could have had," McCullough said, noting that he is starting to run radio and television ads in some media markets. "This year I have some money and I will be heard."

The debates will feature Republican Attorney General Mark Shurtleff and his Democratic challenger Jean Welch Hill.

In an interview with the Desert News, Hinckley Institute Director Kirk Jowers said the center has had a longstanding policy of limiting debate participants to candidates who poll with at least 5 percent support.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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