- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Libertarian Party candidate Adrian Wyllie filed a federal lawsuit Thursday seeking to join the Oct. 15 Florida gubernatorial debate.

Wyllie claims that his rights are being infringed upon because of a rule requiring participants to show at least 15 percent support in a reputable independent opinion poll. Wyllie says the rule he understood was 12 percent - including any poll margin of error - although the 15 percent figure has been in place since at least August 2013.

“The Adrian Wyllie campaign is serious in every sense of the word, and is entitled to participate fully in the electoral process, on an equal footing with the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor,” the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, names as defendants debate organizers Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association. It also names Broward College, site of the Oct. 15 debate currently between Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.

The organizations did not file an immediate response Thursday, but had previously ruled Wyllie out of the debate because he did not meet the 15 percent polling threshold as of Sept. 30. Wyllie also failed to reach the 12 percent polling figure for a separate July candidates’ forum sponsored in part by the press association.

The dispute is now before U.S. District Judge James Cohn.

Scott and Crist have their first debate Friday at a Miramar television station, also without Wyllie. A third debate is set Oct. 21 in Jacksonville.

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