On January 14, KERA will broadcast, statewide, a GOP gubernatorial debate beginning at 7 p.m.; it will take place at the Murchison Performing Arts Center on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton. As you can see from The Texas Debates home page, Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison are prominently featured and scheduled to attend, but of course. Meg Fullwood, public relations manager for KERA, tells Unfair Park today that formal invites to all of the Republican contenders have not yet gone out: "That decision won't be made till the 4th of January," she says, scheduled to coincide with the close of the filing period.
Reason I asked who was invited was because Debra Medina's campaign just issued a statement saying invite or no, she'll be there: "KERA's position of supporting Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison at this debate while excluding Debra Medina's participation clearly violates the IRS' prohibition against political campaign activity. It is obvious KERA is conducting this Republican primary debate in a partisan manner and with bias," says campaign press secretary Nelda Carrizales Skevington.
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Fullwood says it's not like Medina's been excluded; it's just that they're waiting to see if she fulfills the criteria -- which says, among other things, "if a candidate receives a minimum of a 6% rating in an established, nonpartisan poll," they're good to go. According to the Texas Tribune's inaugural election survey, conducted a month ago, Medina's running a distant third to Perry and Hutchison -- but pulling in 7 percent nonetheless. Says Fullwood, via a follow-up e-mail, "We do not yet know whether Ms. Medina will meet the criteria, but we are continuing to gather information, and, if she does, she will be included."