The minor party candidates invited to the debates by Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s campaign were kicked to the curb Friday by both major parties. Democratic gubernatorial candidate New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and the Rell campaign blamed each other for Friday’s decision that leaves both minor party candidates out of two televised debates.
On Sept. 1 Rell’s campaign said it “strongly believes” the Green Party’s gubernatorial candidate Cliff Thornton, “deserves a place in any debate.“Three weeks later, it announced that Thornton would not be included in any gubernatorial debates. According to Green Party spokesman Ken Krayeske, Kevin Deneen Rell’s campaign manager said the Democrats did not want the Greens to participate. When they called the DeStefano campaign its spokesman Derek Slap said it was the Republicans’ fault.“Someone is lying, and we think it is both parties,” the Green Party stated in its press release. According to sources, the DeStefano campaign had planned on standing with the Green Party Friday morning to pressure Rell into four debates—two with the minor party candidates and two without, but it didn’t turn out that way. The DeStefano campaign press release said it still wants to participate in at least one candidate forum with Thornton, but is thrilled “Gov. Rell has reconsidered and decided to debate John DeStefano one-on-one.”“Unfortunately, we were not able to come to agreement on allowing the participation of third-party candidates,” Rell said late Friday. “But I’m sure there will be ample opportunity for voters to hear from all of the candidates at the various events and public meetings on the campaign trail.”