Abel Collins, the independent candidate in CD2, plans to deliver a petition with more than 1100 signatures protesting his exclusion this evening from a televised debate on Fox Providence. (UPDATE: I should have noted in my initial post that the debate was set to be taped this morning,)
A news release distributed by Collins’ wife says some of the candidate’s supporters will peacefully protest this evening near the East Providence-based WPRI/WNAC-TV if the station didn’t change its mind. Democatic congressman Jim Langevin and Republican opponent Michael Riley are set to square off in a debate broadcast at 7 pm.
Collins’ supporters point to how a recent Channel 12 poll showed him with 9 percent of the support in CD2 — an amount that could cross the 10 percent threshhold considering the margin of error.
I’ve inquired via email with the station’s news director, Joe Abouzeid, about the decision not to include Collins in the debate with Langevin and Riley. I’ll post his response if and when I hear back.
According to Collins’ campaign, WPRI/WNAC GM Jay Howell has called the choice an “editorial decision.”
Collins’ campaign says excluding him from the debate amounts to censorship.
(Disclosure: I’m a regular panelist on WPRI/WNAC-TV’s Newsmakers.)