AUSTIN (CN) - Four Democrats running longshot campaigns seeking the nomination for governor say North Texas Public Broadcasting drove the final nail in their campaigns by excluding them from a televised debate. One plaintiff ran in the Texas Republican primary in 2006, and ran for office in 1986 on a platform challenging Moammar Khadafy to hand-to-hand combat, the Houston Chronicle reported. In their pro se complaint, the candidates claim that being excluded from TV debates leads to their being "ridiculed as 'publicity seekers' or 'even weird.'"
The candidates - Felix Alvarado, Alma Aguando, Clement Glenn and Star Locke - demand more than $400 million from PBS station in their complaint in Travis County Court.
They say that by excluding them from the debate between the Democratic front-runners- former Houston Mayor Bill White and businessman Farouk Shami - the station exposed them to ridicule and ended any chances they had to win the nomination.
"Each time this happens plaintiffs are ignored and even experience abuse by voters or groups or members of the Democrat Party, voters or would-be voters," the complaint states. "The snow ball effect comes into play and soon all efforts to speak or be heard or campaign turns into a joke and plaintiffs are even ridiculed as 'publicity seekers' or 'even weird.'"
According to their campaign Web sites, Alvarado is a public school teacher, Aguando is a physician, Glenn is an associate professor and Locke is a builder.
Locke, who challenged Khadafy to duke it out, is pictured on his campaign Web site sitting atop a horse in shorts. His site claims that, as a former "world class swimmer," Locke took part in the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, after which he "swam into the open sea and 3 days later was picked up by a banana boat out of Haiti." He says that John Wayne gave him the nickname "Star".
The candidates seek a lot of money for civil rights violations. They say the free publicity their campaigns would have gleaned from the debate, had they been allowed in it, is worth "well in excess" of that amount.
Republicans vying for the governor's office include incumbent Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Debra Medina.
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