Criteria for Participation in the Decision 2012 Debates
Statement of Purpose
Leadership Florida Statewide Community Foundation, Inc. and Florida Press Association (the "Partners") are producing televised debates among the 2012 Florida candidates for the U.S. Senate.
The Partners are private corporate entities and are not state actors. The debates will be financed by private funding provided by the Partners and debate sponsors and no public money will be used to produce the debates.
Leadership Florida Statewide Community Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit, nonpartisan, Florida membership organization created for the purpose of educating Florida's leaders about the issues critical to the state.
Florida Press Association is a private, non-profit, nonpartisan membership organization comprised of Florida daily and weekly newspapers.
The goal of the debates is to offer the citizens of Florida an opportunity, in a broad-ranging debate format, to learn about, compare, and carefully consider those candidates from whom the Florida Democratic and Republican Parties will select their 2012 Senatorial nominees in the primary election and those candidates the voters will select in the general election. In order to achieve this goal, the Partners adopt these Candidate Selection Rules (the "Rules") for identifying those candidates who will be invited to participate in the televised debates. It is the intent of the Partners that the Rules comply with all applicable legal requirements and that invitation to participate in the debate be extended to qualifying candidates based upon the application of pre-established, objective criteria as expressed in the Rules.
2012 Florida Debate Schedule
The televised primary election debates will occur prior to the Florida primary elections scheduled for Tuesday, August 7, 2012. The debate is scheduled to take place Tuesday, July 24* at Turner Auditorium on the campus of Tallahassee Community College in Tallahassee, Florida. (Primary debate has been CANCELLED)
* Subject to change
The televised general election debate will occur prior to the Florida general election scheduled for Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The debate is scheduled to take place at 7:00 p.m. October 17* at the Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale-Davie, Florida.
Candidate Selection Rules
- To qualify to be invited to participate in a debate, the candidate must satisfy all of the following criteria:
- The candidates must satisfy all of the eligibility requirements of the governing body responsible for the elections.
The requirements for Senator are satisfied if the candidate:
- is at least 30 years of age;
- is a U.S. citizen for at least nine years at the time of election to the Senate;
- is a resident of the state one is elected to represent in the Senate;
- is otherwise eligible under the U.S. Constitution.
- The candidate must be legally qualified for and registered to participate as a candidate in the 2012 Senatorial elections.
- The candidate must appear as a candidate for Senator on his or her party’s Florida primary ballot, and (unless an independent candidate) on his or her party’s General ballot.
- For primary debates, a qualifying candidate must have at least 15% support (including the full benefit of a 4% +/- margin of error based on a sample size of 600 to 650 among all likely voters who will participate in that candidate's primary as determined by a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. Such poll shall be conducted and completed between 10 and 60 days before the primary election day.
For the general election debates, a qualifying candidate must have at least 15% support (including the full benefit of a 4% +/- margin of error based on a sample size of 600 to 650 among all likely voters who will participate in the general election as determined by a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. Such poll shall be conducted and completed between 10 and 60 days before the general election day.
By way of example, if a poll shows a candidate receiving 12% support among all registered voters, and the poll's margin of error is 4%, the candidate's support, including the full benefit of the margin of error, is 16%. If such a candidate meets the other criteria set forth in these Rules, that candidate would qualify to be invited to participate in the debate.
The Partners reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to broaden the criteria if the accepted poll indicates that there are more than 35% undecided voters. Such poll shall be conducted and completed between 10 and 60 days before the primary election day. If a poll shows that 35% of registered voters are undecided, candidates may be invited if they receive at least 10% (including the full benefit of a 4% +/- margin of error based on a sample size of 600 to 650 among all likely voters who will participate in the general election as determined by a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research). The Partners will include all candidates who receive 10% or more support if they select to invoke this option.
- The candidate must agree to abide by all rules concerning the conduct of the debate.
- The deadline to meet the requirements of these Rules for participation in a primary debate is 10 days before the primary debate. The deadline to meet the requirements of these Rules for participation in the general election debates is 10 days before the general election debate.
- The Partners will not accept any other polling results, specifically including but not limited to any polling results paid for or otherwise obtained, directly or indirectly, by a candidate, a candidate's campaign, or any supporter of the candidate.
- The Partners or their designee may cancel, postpone, or reschedule this debate in their sole discretion. The Partners are not responsible or otherwise liable for any cost or expense of any candidate in the event the Partners cancel, postpone, or reschedule this debate.
- ALL DECISIONS CONCERNING THIS DEBATE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CANDIDATE QUALIFICATIONS, CANDIDATE INVITATIONS, AND THE INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF THESE RULES, ARE WITHIN THE SOLE DISCRETION OF THE PARTNERS OR THEIR DESIGNEE AND SHALL BE FINAL. THE PARTNERS RESERVE THE RIGHT TO ALTER OR AMEND THESE RULES AT THEIR SOLE DISCRETION.