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AP skips W.Va. debate due to media restrictions

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 7:31 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012

"We were disappointed to learn that organizers denied full media access to Tuesday's gubernatorial debate," said Dominion Post Managing Editor Pam Queen. "We believe the event should have been open to all media and in the Walker Theater, not in a room removed from the actual debate. Additionally, the public should have had access.

"Our stance is that an event with such limitations should not be covered at all. Consequently, we support the decision by The Associated Press to not cover the debate," Queen said.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, a Democrat, faced off against Republican Bill Maloney in the debate, which was broadcast by several television and radio stations across the state. Tomblin defeated Maloney during a special election last year to complete the unexpired term of Joe Manchin, who was elected to the U.S. Senate after longtime Sen. Robert C. Byrd died in office.

The debate did not include the two other candidates who will appear on the ballot. Libertarian Mike Wilson and the Mountain Party's Jesse Johnson each objected to their exclusion, and Johnson filed a complaint Monday with the Federal Election Commission over his rejection.

Tomblin's and Maloney's campaigns each expressed a desire for the third-party candidates to be included and for the debate to be opened to all media.