Score one for the little guy.
Dallas public television station KERA — running a debate for a group of sponsors — has decided that Debra Medina will be included in its gubernatorial debate, joining Gov. Rick Perry and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on stage in Denton next Thursday night.
There had been some question about whether the third candidate would be allowed. But the decision-makers at the public television station took a hard look and opened the door. "Among the factors considered regarding Debra Medina’s inclusion were whether she was conducting an active campaign and generating media and public interest," said a KERA press release on the debate. "The criteria also allows for consideration of polling data. However, because there is sparse recent polling information, polls played a minor role in the decision to include Medina."
Medina had the support of 7 percent of likely Republican primary voters in the UT/Texas Tribune Poll in November; she's been under 10 percent in the handful of recent polls that have been made public.
“The voice of the people was heard and it goes to show that even against two big-government career politicians you can win if you will just fight for what is right," said Penny Langford Freeman, Medina's campaign manager, in a written statement. "And now we intend to win this primary."
The partners in The Texas Debates are KERA in partnership with CBS 11 (KTVT-TV) and TXA 21 (KTXA-TV), Fort Worth Star-Telegram, KUVN Univision 23, the Texas Association of Broadcasters, Texas State Networks, and the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Texas Monthly, which was originally in that group, dropped out after learning their chief political writer, Paul Burka, would be barred from the debate panel for opinions expressed on his blog on the magazine's website.
The forum is set for a week from Thursday, at 7pm, and will be broadcast around the state and streamed live online at TexasDebates.org. A little while later, a Spanish-language translation will be available at Univision.com