Why Two Candidates Won’t Be Participating In The KELO-TV House Debate


Two people vying to be South Daktoa’s U.S. representative will take part in a debate hosted by KELOLAND Media Group.  

Republican Dusty Johnson and Democrat Tim Bjorkman are both scheduled to be in the debate. 

Two other people are also on the ballot this year for that same seat in Congress: Independent Ron Wieczorek and Libertarian George Hendrickson. 

KELOLAND Media Group invited all four candidates to participate in the debate. 

In order to qualify, they must meet the criteria set by our parent company, Nexstar.

The requirements range from having your name on the ballot to having a public campaign headquarters open during business hours. 

“It has nothing to do with party. Everybody that is on the ballot gets sent this criteria, but there are certain criteria there that just give us a better feel for those that are qualified to participate in the debate,” KELOLAND Media Group Vice President & General Manager Jay Huizenga said. 

In the case of th U.S. House debate, one candidate did not meet the fundraising threshold and the other chose not to submit the criteria 

Keep in mind, we’ve been covering this race and others from the beginning, and we’re not done yet. 

“These are criteria for a one-hour debate, but we cover all of the candidates regardless of the debate,” Huizenga said. 

KELOLAND News will cover every candidate’s campaign and include their information on-air and online.

You can watch the debate on KELO-TV Friday at 7:00 p.m. CDT. 

Nexstar Media Group Debate Criteria:
Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. is committed to hosting fair and open debates among qualified candidates as part of the Company’s mission to inform the public and assist voters in making important electoral decisions. To determine who is a qualified candidate, the Company has adopted the following objective and non-discriminatory criteria to govern which candidates are eligible to participate in Company-sponsored debates. In order to be eligible to participate, a candidate must comply with all sections of this policy.

  1. A candidate must be legally qualified and (x) listed on the ballot for the office the candidate is seeking or (y) be a write-in candidate who meets all of the legal qualifications required by the federal, state or municipal government for the office being sought and has filed the appropriate papers for write-in status.
  2. A candidate must have publicly announced his or her candidacy in a public forum. For the purposes of this section, “public forum” includes an announcement of candidacy on the Internet.
  3. A candidate must be actively campaigning for election in the jurisdiction he or she is seeking to represent for the office he or she is seeking. To meet the definition of an active campaign, a candidate must have all of the following:
    1. A campaign headquarters with a paid and/or volunteer staff that is open to the public during business hours. For the purposes of this subsection, a campaign headquarters may not be a private residence, but may be a business address used primarily for non-campaign purposes; and
    2. A campaign phone line; and
    3. A publicized, dedicated candidate-specific website or web page; and
    4. Planned in-district appearances or invitations to appear and/or speak at public gatherings; and
    5. Monetary contributions and a campaign treasurer; and
    6. Campaign literature; and
    7. Press coverage identifying the candidate as a candidate in the current election by at least eight unique news reports in media (e.g. newspapers, TV, cable news, radio, or online news websites that are recognized by local and/or national media).  
  4. If a candidate meets at least five but not all of the requirements in Section 3 above (and meets the requirements in Section 5 below) and can show either:
    1. He or she has received a minimum of 5 percent for a primary election, or 10 percent for a general election, support in an established, professionally conducted nonpartisan poll without taking the survey’s margin of error into account, or
    2. The percentage of votes cast for the candidate in a previous election within the four years immediately preceding the current election exceeds a minimum of 20 percent of votes for the same office or a comparable office,
    the candidate is eligible to participate in the debate.
  5. In addition to the requirements of Sections 1-4 inclusive, a candidate for a state or federal office must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, accepting at least $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents.  For local offices, a candidate must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, having accepted at least $15,000 in campaign contributions.
  6. Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. and its affiliates, employees, agents and servants shall not guarantee to any candidate or candidate’s campaign, verbally or in writing, that the candidate will be included in a debate until the requirements of this policy, and each of them, have been satisfied to the satisfaction of Nexstar Broadcasting Inc. and its affiliates.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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