DALLAS Debra Medina the third candidate running for the GOP nomination for governor along with Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison has accepted an invitation to appear in the statewide televised debate sponsored by Belo TV stations in Texas and The Dallas Morning News.

The debate is set for Friday, January 29.

Until now, Medina had not met the criteria to appear in the debate. However, a new Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday shows a shift among likely Texas GOP voters in her favor. The poll of 831 likely voters found:

  • Perry - 43 percent
  • Hutchison - 33 percent
  • Medina - 12 percent
  • Not sure - 11 percent

After reviewing the Rasmussen results, Mike Devlin president and general manager WFAA-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth, the station that will host the debate explained why Medina will now be allowed to appear.

The Rasmussen poll released today shows Debra Medina is now at 12 percent, which is a substantial jump since the previous poll. Factoring in the margin of error (+/- 3.5 percent) and using reasonable news judgment, it appears Ms. Medina is a viable candidate and qualifies for the Belo Debate to be broadcast on January 29, Devlin said.

As previously announced, the primary criteria used to determine which candidates are invited to participate in the debate include whether a candidate:

  • receives significant levels of public support in independent public opinion polls (e.g. 15 percent, which is the minimum used by the Commission on Presidential Debates)
  • has received substantial campaign contributions from varied sources
  • has previously held significant public office(s)
  • has received a substantial level of votes in prior elections for the same or comparable office(s)
  • will be reported by news agencies in election night returns
  • has received significant news coverage from a wide range of media outlets

The FCC and other bodies grant stations the right to exercise good faith news judgment in determining which candidates are invited to participate in televised debates, and to use reasonable news judgment in reaching such decisions, with the intent to neither promote a candidate nor create a disadvantage for a candidate, Devlin's statement said.

Representatives of the Perry and Hutchison campaigns said they welcome Medina's inclusion in the debate.


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