WFAA Probably Won't Let Libertarian John Jay Myers Into Senate Debate, So He's Protesting Its Downtown Headquarters

John Jay Myers.jpg
John Jay Myers, from his Facebook page

John Jay Myers owns the Free Man, a Cajun joint in Deep Ellum. He also runs a wholesale embroidery business, has a "deep, deep mistrust of the government," would like to legalize medical marijuana, and thinks we should bring all the U.S. troops home. And he believes Texans are being denied a chance to hear his views in a planned October 2 debate for U.S. Senate candidates on WFAA because of unfair standards for inclusion.

"The Belo-owned --" he begins during a recent phone conversation. He pauses. "Are you guys Belo-owned? Don't tell me you are. No? The Belo-owned media don't like to have alternative parties in their debates."

Myers is running for U.S. Senate, against two better-known and (much) better-funded challengers, Republican Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz and Democrat Paul Sadler. His campaign is planning the protest for Wednesday morning in front of WFAA's headquarters on Young Street, saying that the five criteria WFAA uses to determine who should be included in its debates are unfair, and per the Facebook event invite, "meant to specifically keep out opinions other than those of the two major parties."

According to an email sent by Carolyn Mungo, WFAA's executive news director, to Myers' campaign, the criteria for inclusion are as follows:

  • 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 received a substantial level of votes in prior elections for the same or comparable office.
  • Expected to be reported by news agencies in election night returns.
  • Has received significant news coverage from a wide range of media outlets.

Myers' campaign contends that he has indeed raised a substantial amount of donations, relatively speaking. According to campaign reports, Cruz has raised about $8.8 million and has $1.45 million cash on hand. Sadler has about $139,000 and has a little less than $31,000 cash on hand. Myers says he's raised $11,000; the data we consulted on Open Secrets reports $6,139, with $5,591 cash on hand. Those numbers are from June 30.

Considering that many Libertarian campaigns haven't raised squat, Myers says, "$11,000 at $25 a pop is reasonable. None of that was put in by ourselves." (The other third-party candidate, Michael Louis George, has a little over $86,000, all of it provided by one Michael Louis George.)

Myers' campaign also says neither Sadler nor Cruz meet the polling requirements; polling data on this race is pretty sparse. Cruz has never run for office before, meaning, obviously, he hasn't received "a substantial level of votes" in prior elections, unless you count the Republican primary.

"There seems to be a partisan double standard here," Myers' campaign manager wrote in an email to Mungo, "With no clear guidance regarding exactly how many criteria must be met and to what degree."

Carolyn Mungo had no comment on the planned protest Monday morning. "Our criteria has been in place for quite some time," she told us, "The criteria we've used for debates for the past several years." She denied, too, that any candidate would have to meet all five conditions to be included. "We never said anyone has to meet all the criteria," she told us, not very warmly. "No. That was never communicated."

Neither the Myers camp nor WFAA is saying outright that he's being denied entry into the debate. Mungo points out that in a previous debate, this one for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary, a third candidate ended up securing an invitation after all.

"Debbie Medina was not initially on our debate list," she says. "As the election progressed, it became apparent that she would be allowed into the debate."

Myers is no stranger to running for office, or to being virtually ignored while he does so. In 2009, he ran for City Council in his home district, District 7, against current council member Carolyn Davis and six other people.

"Rudy Bush covered the whole thing," Myers recalls, referring to one of the Dallas Morning News' City Hall reporters. "Nice guy. Never mentioned us or mentioned that we had a chance." After the election, in which Myers pulled fourth place among the eight candidates, he says, "Rudy emailed me and said, 'We had no idea you would do this good. Had I known, I probably would have talked about you more.'"

In 2010, Myers ran for U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions' seat, garnering a bit more press coverage from Rudy Bush , but not much elsewhere (including us). "We ran into the same thing" as during the City Council race, he says. "We had no idea the press would ignore us."

During this Senate run, his campaign is getting a bit more aggressive. He's been crisscrossing Texas in an RV with five volunteers, giving stump speeches in the DFW area, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Nacogdoches, Tyler, and Mount Pleasant. At every stop, he says, he's drawn "50 or so people, even with the news pretty much denying we exist."

In Houston, he says, they parked the RV outside of the Channel 2 news station, "because they said they didn't want to interview us. We stuck our signs in the yard, pulled our tent out, got all the guys out, all five volunteers, put our seats up and said, 'We're actually sitting right here, so if you come out and interview us that'd be appreciated.'"

Did they?

"Yeah," Myers says. "A cameraman and a reporter came out. We never actually saw the interview. But they did do the interview."

"This race has gotten so weird," he says reflectively, "that it seems like I'm the ultimate candidate, I'd say, for the broad base of Americans. I'm fiscally conservative. I don't believe the government should be spending our money, because they use it to fund more wars. On the other side of that, I'm socially tolerant. I don't care what you do with your life. I don't care who you marry. I think that's where most Americans sit. I believe that to be true."


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43 comments
LizMiller
LizMiller

Trolls are evidence that JJM and the Liberty message matter and are making progress. Trolls are worried their guy's message can't stand up to scrutiny in the light of day. 

seanbeavers
seanbeavers

Gotta love these Romney trolls who won't even post a picture. And BTW, JJM's neighborhood DOES support him. If you would maybe peel your eyes away from Rush Limbaugh, while beating off to him, then you could find time to do some research and find out who JJM is.

ceepee
ceepee

UGH. Thank you so much JJM, for sending your troops over to idiot-bomb this site with rah-rah epithets about the greatness of JJM! It's sickening, really. They say nothing at all, and curiously, never say anything at all, just like you. How in the world do you find your supporters when your "neighborhood" doesn't even support you? Where do you live even? At your print shop? you're a complete fraud. Just go away.

ceepee
ceepee

How did JJ Meyers run for Pete Sessions seat when he's supposedly a voter in far southeast Dallas? How many addresses does he have. he's an idiot. The press doesn't follow him because they he's a complete moron.

surety21buzz103
surety21buzz103

Sadly a man like Myers has as much chance of getting elected to the Senate as a warthog has using an iPhone to order Louboutins. He is an amalgamation of many ideas and philosophies, none of which follow the prescribed trajectory of either Democrats or Republicans. Ergo he will be marginalized and systemically impeded.

 

Nonetheless, his courage and commitment should be applauded and rewarded with votes...pure and simple.

jerikjonsson
jerikjonsson

I heard Myers speak at Free Man.  DO NOT miss a chance to hear him speak.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Let the guy in.  Who owns this verkukte station anyway?

rbush3
rbush3

All good, John Jay. I would have kept eating at The Free Man no matter what.

JohnJay24
JohnJay24

My apologies to Rudy Bush, I spent a long time speaking with Anna. That part of the conversation was very brief. I had gotten to like Rudy during the race and more so after the race. So I am sorry it didn't come out exactly right. Absent of Rudy's coverage, we would have received zero coverage.  Personally I do not feel that we got the attention we should have. But I don't hold that against Rudy directly. More towards the rest of the media. As I quickly mentioned "Rudy Bush covered the whole thing". If I said that he "never" covered us I must have misspoke, only that he obviously covered us a little. Not as much as the other candidates they considered more viable. But he did a fair job covering us. There is confusion on the phrasing of what Rudy said in the end, I took his comments in regards to being "surprised how well we did" in a different way, my best recollection was that he also said that we should/could have gotten more coverage. Rudy says that is not the case. I will go ahead and accept his memory of the events. I would mention that Rudy did cover our Congressional run, one of few. Even though Rudy does not cover congressional runs. He has also given my Libertarian view on things happening down at City Hall to his readers on several occasions. I really appreciate that about him. My apologies to Rudy Bush for not better articulating myself, and casting a shadow on one of the few reporters I actually get along with, respect and trust. 

rbush3
rbush3

I'm sorry to see John Jay's comment about my coverage of him in his 2009 council run. It is not an accurate reflection of my work or the DMN City Hall Bureau's work regarding that race. We wrote about his entry into the contest on Feb, 22, 2009 and covered him prominently in a major story profiling the candidates in the race. That said, there were seven people vying for that seat. John got equal or better coverage than most of them. I recall telling him after the race that he had done better than many people expected. That's sort of the nice thing to say to someone who steps forward against long odds. The fact is, he never posed a serious challenge to the incumbent, Carolyn Davis. 

 

Here is what I wrote for an April 30, 2009 story: Myers, 40, hopped into the District 7 race as an unknown small-business owner who wants government to keep its nose out of people's lives and companies.He's become known since mainly for speaking out often against the city's proposed convention center hotel.But in a district where many people and neighborhoods rely on government help and subsidies, Myers faces questions of how far he would take his laissez-faire views if elected.Though he appeared at City Hall to support an anti-subsidy referendum on the May ballot, Myers says now he would vote against it. He also said he understands that in a district as needy as his, government has to play a role in helping even things out. "Our district has been neglected for so long, they are due," he said.Affable and articulate, Myers does well with people who get to know him. But his political problems in District 7 extend to race. He's white, and District 7 is one of the city's main seats of black political power. But that doesn't bother Myers, who believes voters will look beyond it.

J_A_
J_A_

This is pretty fcked up and kinda scary. We need a third party to rise up from the ranks.

sista4liberty
sista4liberty

Finally! Some honest and unbiased journalism in the Dallas area! I was beginning to lose hope that all the media outlets have been bought off by the incumbents' big money sponsors...thank you Dallas Observer for showing integrity...

iamshaun
iamshaun

I'll be there! With a megaphone, DFW NORML & a camera. 

LizMiller
LizMiller

WFAA (and many other media who host debates) say they'll invite Myers if other media deem him legit, first? That makes no sense, of course. The real truth is that, absent serious public pressure, debate hosts invite those candidates who Big Party establishment deem legit. That should concern not just Libertarians and Independents, but Republicans and Democrats, as well. The establishment few will continue to feed us their chosen candidates (look how well that's turned out) until we ALL demand otherwise. Please tell WFAA, and other debate hosts in other races, to include all serious candidates. Your voice can make a difference.  Thanks, Observer, for covering this story.

vcardoso
vcardoso

Thank you Observer for covering this story!

phatwone
phatwone

Thanks for letting good people know they have a voice in our community.  One love.

johnhspivey
johnhspivey

By the way - Great article!  Thanks for shedding some light on a great candidate!!!  At least some media outlets here in the DFW area is interested in providing COMPLETE political coverage!

johnhspivey
johnhspivey

"Rudy emailed me and said, 'We had no idea you would do this good. Had I known, I probably would have talked about you more.'" - - Absolutely insane.  

paul_petersen
paul_petersen

Myers is a serious candidate with views that resonate with most citizens. He should be included in the debate. Let's see how the electorate responds if they are presented with an option that is fiscally conservative, AND is anti-war, AND doesn't give a damn how you live your life. 

 

Regarding WFAA's criteria, I find it self-serving (or maybe just lazy?) that 60% of the items (1, 4, and 5) basically boil down to: "The media will cover you, provided that the media covers you."

brian1100
brian1100

Not only is it biased, but it is disrespectful to democracy and people's intelligence to blatantly disregard this man.

OldManOfHockey1
OldManOfHockey1

If you keep up the honest coverage, Anna, this could be a very interesting election.  The medium is the message.

SlamminMan
SlamminMan

Thank you Observer for covering this story! It is important that people know about political alternatives and (arguably) better opinions. Myers is a great candidate for U. S. Senate!http://www.JohnJay.Myers.com/

 

bfarmer2
bfarmer2

Myers is by far the best candidate in this race issue-by-issue. It's a disservice to the people of Texas that he is receiving so little media coverage. Thank you, Dallas Observer, for speaking with him.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

Where are all the Paul bots? Where are all those so-called "Libertarians?   

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

Let him in Belo.

johnhspivey
johnhspivey

 @ceepee Idiot?  Even an idiot knows that there is no district residency requirements in US House races. Only state residency requirements.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @rbush3 Didn't mean to stir up bad feelings by using that quote. Rudy, I should have called you to see what you recalled saying or how you meant it. I'll make sure a parenthetical explanation goes into the print version of this article, if it makes it into print.

 

Thank you both for your continued patronage of Unfair Park, where we cannot feed you, play music for you, or offer you any liquor, except the cheap, dusty whiskey Wilonsky left on my desk when he moved out. Along with 1,000 of his old business cards, for some reason.   

 

robertvonmehren
robertvonmehren

 @JohnJay24 YOU THE MAN!! KEEP FIGHTING! DON'T LET THE CORRUPTION WASH YOU AWAY. all we need is to get the dominos falling and the american people will realize how they have been fooled! Ron Paul set up the game now all we need is one man to push the first one down and get the whole thing going. Freedom always wins in the end.

ceepee
ceepee

 @rbush3 Rudy, don't fret. His idiot supporters don't matter. They really, really don't.

ceepee
ceepee

 @brian1100 Hey, you know what's "disrespectful of people's intelligence (sp)"? John Jay Meyers.

ceepee
ceepee

 @bfarmer2 No. Your pal is a complete disaster and he's not really all that honest either.

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @GuitarPlayer One of the "Libertarians" is right here.  I've intended to vote for John Jay all along.  Welcome to the party.

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

 @RTGolden Party? Libertarians where Republicans I thought. Isn't that where Ron Paul hangs his hat? He's a Republican.

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @CrackerDaddy  @GuitarPlayer And....... since then?  1988 was a political eon ago.  Since that time, especially recently, Paul has been co-opted by the republican party, much like the Tea party adherents who so adore him.  Good riddance to Bad Rubbish.

RTGolden
RTGolden

 @GuitarPlayer  @RTGolden He's also not much of a libertarian.  Eh, to each their own.  I hold mostly Libertarian views, but I've voted for other parties/candidates when circumstances worked out that way.

 

You might be confusing what is commonly referred to as the "Tea Party" with the Libertarian party.  The Tea Party calls themselves libertarians, but are firmly ensconced in the Republican fold.  A brilliant ploy by the Reps to attempt to squirrel in a few more votes.

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