Independent Candidate Again Turned Away from Gubernatorial Debate

OCTOBER 18, 2006 - Posted at 8:01 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A debate between the two major-party nominees for governor was staged last night without either independent candidate Rod Bryan or a third-party nominee.  Earlier in the day, a judge rejected Bryan's efforts to stop the event.  Bryan had filed a lawsuit claiming that his constitutional right to free speech was being trampled.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox rejected independent candidate Bryan's claim that if he could not be part of the debate, it shouldn't be held.  Fox did not rule on the merits of Bryan's case.  Instead, he decided only that last night's meeting between Democrat Mike Beebe and Republican Asa Hutchinson should not be canceled while he considers Bryan's claims.

Bryan said the ruling was disheartening.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)