John Cox

A federal judge has cut a South Carolina candidate out of a debate scheduled in that state for the GOP candidates in the presidential race next week, but
John Cox said
it’s really the fault of Fox News, which structured the event to leave him out.

Cox told WND after a judge ruled against his request yesterday for an injunction that he would not pursue an appeal because of the expense and time frame, but he was disappointed.

“I’m certainly interested in being on that stage, but I’m not going to waste people’s time with something that has a lesser likelihood of success,” he told WND.

He is going to be at the debate, along with an aide, he said.

Cox filed the lawsuit over Fox News Channel’s broadcast of the “First in the South” GOP presidential debate scheduled Tuesday.

Cox said Fox did a poll of candidates registered to appear on the South Carolina primary ballot to determine who would be in the debate, and even though Cox actually finished first in one independent South Carolina county straw poll and placed second in another, he was left off the roster.

A message left with Fox requesting a response was not returned.

Cox said in the Fox poll, he actually was ahead of Jim Gilmore and Ron Paul. He said he was fifth against other candidates in an survey.

“So, what did Fox do? They changed the rules, throwing out their poll and using new criteria that allowed their chosen 10 to participate while excluding Cox,” his campaign said.

Cox, who filed with the Federal Election Commission to launch his campaign on Feb. 13, 2006, has since set up offices in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

He said the candidates were told they must poll at least one percent on the Fox News Channel national and state polls to take part, but just before May 1, the state GOP and network “decided to discard current polling data and only use polling data from April 1-3, 2007.”

That poll, the campaign noted said, didn’t list Cox.

“Since John Cox is an official candidate, as determined by the FEC, and viable, as determined by Republican Party activists in numerous county straw polls, the Fox News Channel polling data is deemed biased and inaccurate,” the campaign said.

Cox has been a businessman, with law, accounting and investment operations as well as a real estate management company. He ran for Congress in 2000 and the U.S. Senate in 2002.

Cox told WND he’s been campaigning in South Carolina and other early primary states for more than a year.

“It’s pretty simple, Fox and the South Carolina party are deciding who they want the American people to see,” Cox told WND.

He said the federal judge ruled that the event was private, therefore Cox had no right to demand that he be allowed to participate based on poll numbers.

“It is considered not to be a state action,” Cox said. “The debate is to be a private function, therefore not within the [jurisdiction] of the federal courts.”

His campaign describes his positions as being pro-family and anti-amnesty, with support for the 2nd Amendment, winning in Iraq and eliminating the IRS. He believes in balanced federal budgets and peace through strength.

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