Green Party of Connecticut

Thornton for Governor

September 25, 2006

The Connecticut League of Women Voters Invites Cliff Thornton to its Televised Debate on Oct. 9 in New London

Hartford - Cliff Thornton, the Connecticut Green Party candidate for governor, hailed the League of Women Voters as courageous and democratic for its decision to invite him to its televised debate Monday, Oct. 9 at the Garde Theatre for the Arts in New London, CT at 8 p.m. between Republican incumbent Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Democratic challenger John DeStefano.

"This is a great day for democracy," said gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton, who is the first African-American candidate for governor in state history. "The Connecticut League of Women Voter's showed the courage of its forbears. I am certain that Susan B. Anthony and her suffragettes would applaud this. I look forward to standing on the stage alongside my Republican and Democratic colleagues to discuss the issues of greatest concern to Connecticut voters."

Previously, the Republicans and the Democrats reached a two-debate deal in private negotiations which excluded not only the League of Women Voters, but Green Party candidate Cliff Thornton as well.

Yet it turns out that one of those debates was co-sponsored by the League and the New London Day. Once the League realized that it was not excluded from its traditional, historic role, the League said the Day editorial board gave it the latitude to determine what other parties should be on stage.

The League had originally postponed its decision on third party inclusion, but once it learned it would be moderating a debate, it requested that the Thornton for Governor campaign submit a revised application for consideration. This afternoon, after reviewing the application, the League issued its decision that Thornton's campaign fulfilled all four of its debate inclusion standards and thus merited inclusion.

The letter it sent to the Thornton for Governor campaign said, "Using criteria reaffirmed in May 2006, the committee made a determination that your candidacy meets all of our criteria and you are, therefore, eligible to participate in League-sponsored debates during the 2006 election." That letter is attached to this press release.

Candidate Thornton was thrilled to hear the decision, which ran directly contrary to the discriminatory stand of the two parties.

"Apparently, the Rell and DeStefano camps thought they could impede democracy," Thornton said. "They were afraid that I might pull some shenanigans in the debates, so they decided to keep me out. Their fear is correct. I am going to talk about the issues that matter to Connecticut voters and in today's restrictive political environment, talking about the issues of concern for Connecticut voters is a shenanigan."