Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate David Patterson is suing Kentucky Educational Television over his exclusion from an upcoming debate.
David Patterson is asking a federal judge to order KET to include him in the October 13 exchange.
Patterson’s name will appear on the November ballot, but KET says he wasn’t invited to the debate because he didn’t meet the network’s criteria, which says a candidate must have at least $100,000 in donations and be polling at least ten percent in a survey conducted by an independent pollster, among other requirements.
"The original criteria were put into place in March and at that time, Mr. Patterson met three of the four criteria, and only had to meet one," explained Patterson's attorney Chris Wiest. "Following the primary, KET modified the debate criteria to require that four separate criteria all be met. In doing that, internal emails from KET indicated they did it for the purpose of excluding third party candidates."
The lawsuit alleges that Patterson's 1st and 14th amendment rights were violated. A KET spokesman told WKU Public Radio that the network does not comment on pending lawsuits.
Patterson, a Harrodsburg police officer, is an underdog against Republican Senator Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes who have raised millions of dollars in one of the country’s most competitive races.
Kentucky has just over 4,100 registered Libertarians, according the the Secretary of State's Office.