UPDATE: U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith ruled against the bid by non-partisan candidates to be included in tonight’s U.S. Senate debate. Lead plaintiff, Steven Machat, said he will re-file his lawsuit in a bid for NPA candidates to be added to the scheduled Oct. 26 TV debate between Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Patrick Murphy.
Steven Machat, a Miami-based music producer and author running as a no party affiliated (NPA) candidate, filed the suit last month in U.S. District Court in Miami.
Other NPA Senate contenders are Basil Dalack of Tequesta, Tony Khoury of Coral Gables and Bruce Nathan of Palm City.
Murphy and Rubio have agreed to two debates, with the first tonight at the University of Central Florida, aired on ABC-TV stations by WFTV-Orlando.
The NPA contenders also are trying to be included in the Oct. 26 TV debate hosted by Broward College in Davie.
The Orlando debate is sponsored by Cox Media Group, Politico Florida and ABC News. The Broward College debate is sponsored by Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association.
WFTV said its standard for inviting candidates was that they must draw at least 15 percent support in a credible poll. The NPA candidates in the Florida Senate race aren’t registering support close to that level in most polls.