Evan Falchuk Is Suing for the Chance to Debate Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley

Evan Falchuk after the October 7 gubernatorial debate. He wants to be in the October 27 debate, too.
Evan Falchuk after the October 7 gubernatorial debate. He wants to be in the October 27 debate, too. –AP

Bombastic independent gubernatorial candidate Evan Falchuk doesn’t like being left out.

After being denied a spot at this week’s gubernatorial debates and uninvited from the October 27 debate, Falchuk is striking back in court. He’s suing debate sponsors the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, NECN, and the Worcester Chamber of Commerce, claiming they breached their contract with him when they rescinded their invitation.

In the lawsuit (which MassLive has provided in full here), Falchuk claims that he accepted the invitation to participate in the debate over the phone and email, told supporters that he would be in the debate, and kept that evening free of any campaign events accordingly. Not being able to debate, Falchuk says, will cause “irreparable harm’’ and could cost him votes in the election. He’s asking the Suffolk County Superior Court to order the debate sponsors to include him in the night’s proceedings, i.e. un-un-invite him.

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According to Falchuk’s campaign website, the hearing will be at 2 p.m. on the day of the debate. None of the debate sponsors responded to request for comment on the suit.

Falchuk has made no secret of his bitterness at being denied the chance to participate in some of the gubernatorial debates. During the October 21 event, which included only Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley, Falchuk complained about being left out of “such a lame debate,’’ saying: “the nice clubby environment we see between press and politicians that leads to the trouble we have today. No wonder they don’t want me there.’’

Jeff McCormick, who, like Falchuk, is running as an independent candidate and was uninvited from the debate, told Boston.com that he hopes Falchuk’s suit succeeds.

“The fact that the independent candidates were uninvited from the Worcester NECN debate, especially after accepting the original invitation, is a failure of the democratic process,’’ McCormick said. “The people of Massachusetts deserve to hear alternative perspectives in this campaign and the candidates deserve an opportunity to speak directly to the voters. The decision on who is on the stage should not be left to media outlets. Massachusetts law dictates how someone gets on the ballot and that should be the only qualifier.’’

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Another independent candidate, Scott Lively, also threatened legal action against the October 27 debate sponsors a few weeks ago. In an October 9 letter to Boston.com, Lively said he considered suing for the right to participate in the debate but ultimately decided to “turn the other cheek.’’

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