Independence Party supports Nicollet lawsuit against KMSP and Hamline University

The constant news and commentary on Hannah Nicollet’s exclusion from the Governor’s debates has me frustrated.

At first, I was frustrated with the Duluth Chamber of Commerce for their litany of lame excuses for excluding Hannah. Yet, as frustrating as their ever-evolving excuses were, they were the host, and it was within their rights to invite the candidates they wished to attend.

When I heard that Commissioner Jeff Johnson’s campaign asked to have Hannah excluded from the debates, I was frustrated with him and his campaign. However, the fact of the matter is that political campaigning involves a level of gamesmanship and the Commissioner’s team was within their right to make that request.

Then it hit me, my frustration is not just with the candidates or the hosts. To be honest, they have done nothing wrong. My frustration is with their lack of leadership.

Minnesotans, we have been lulled into believing that doing nothing wrong, is right. I disagree. The right thing to do is to protect all Minnesotan’s rights to hear from all of their candidates. The right thing to do is to champion fair and open elections, which include the debates. The right thing to do is to put Minnesota first. That is not just right, it is leadership. Isn’t that what elections are about?

Now Hamline University, a host and partner with KMSP Fox 9, will not step forward and require Fox to include Hannah in Sunday morning’s debate. This is not just frustrating, this is wrong. Hamline is ignoring its own policies and 501(c)(3) requirements. Fox and Hamline expose a continued lack of leadership, their own.

Last week, the Independence Party issued a call for Governor Dayton, Commissioner Johnson, and Minnesota’s media outlets to boycott debates that exclude any major party candidate. Just an hour before the Hamline debate, the answer is clear. Two men who wish to serve as Minnesota’s next Governor, our state’s next leader, are not willing to take action to protect fair and open elections for all Minnesotans.

By law, Hamline University can host candidate forums, but they must do so in a non-partisan manner. They are prohibited from acting on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate. Because Hamline University is clearly in violation of its political participation requirements. And because Republicans and Democrats put partisanship before leadership. The Independence Party of Minnesota is supporting our gubernatorial candidate’s lawsuit against KMSP Fox 9 and Hamline University for their failure to abide by IRS regulations.

Mark Jenkins
Independence Party of Minnesota

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