The woes of the lesser-known candidates

Posted by Cindi Ross Scoppe on July 17, 2014 

Jill Bossi is challenging US Sen Tim Scott as one of the inaugural candidates from the new American Party of South Carolina.

I got an email over the weekend from one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate and now co-father of a new third party Oscar Lovelace. He was forwarding a note from U.S. Senate candidate Jill Bossi, who was complaining about the fact that she and the other American Party of South Carolina candidates are being ignored by the media in general, and The State in particular.

His question: “What is the problem with The State ignoring our candidates?”

I couldn’t say for certain, and even if I could I wouldn’t feel comfortable speaking for the news department, so I forwarded the message to the executive editor.

But I suspect it has much less to do with Ms. Bossi’s theory — that reporters consider candidates from the nascent party “not worth their efforts to include” — and much more to do with reporters and editors simply not remembering them. After all, news stories frequently mention third-party candidates who are likely to get far fewer votes than candidates from a group with fairly well-known supporters (the effort is headed by Dr. Lovelace and former state Education Superintendent Jim Rex) billing itself as a centrist party.

(For the record, the American Party’s candidates, in addition to Ms. Bossi, are Ed Murray for superintendent of education, Emile DeFelice for commissioner of agriculture and Donna McGreevy for House District 74.)

If it makes the American Partiers feel any better, there was an even more dramatic example this week of the media giving short shrift to lesser-known candidates.

On Monday, state treasurer turned cocaine felon turned reality show star Thomas Ravenel staged his media circus at the State Election Commission, delivering what he says were 16,000 petitions to get his name on the fall ballot as a libertarian alternative to U.S. Sen. Lindsay Graham. (He should ask those six losers on the Republican primary ballot how well that strategy works, when all the moderates and liberals aren’t even voting). Anyway, Mr. Ravenel was accompanied by hordes of TV cameras and photographers and reporters, and The State ran a big picture of him, with an article, on the front of the Metro section, and other media treated the event similarly.

But it turns out that Mr. Ravenel wasn’t the only would-be U.S. Senate candidate to turn in petitions on Monday. He wasn’t even the most impressive. Mount Pleasant businesswoman Brandon Armstrong — whom I’ve never heard of and who probably didn’t have money to burn like Mr. Ravenel to collect signatures — turned in more than 12,500 signatures in her bid to become a petition challenger to U.S. Sen. Tim Scott.

The Associated Press did brief article on it, which the The Post and Courier published on its web site, and The State ran three paragraphs in our print edition with the jump to the Ravenel story and on the newsroom’s political blog, The Buzz. But I didn’t find any other coverage when I googled her.

More consolation here for the American Party, or maybe insult atop the injury: The State’s brief noted that two other candidates also are taking on Sen. Scott: Democratic Richland County Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson and … you guessed it … American Party candidate Jill Bossi of Tega Cay.

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