This is the first of two debates that feature candidates for president who were shut out by the Commission on Presidential Debates. A second debate will be held on October 30.
Representatives of the Libertarian, Green, Constitution, and Justice parties to hold presidential debate in Chicago.
Four third-party candidates, who were not invited to the presidential debates between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, are to face other in Chicago.
Tuesday’s debate is hosted by the Free and Equal Elections Foundation, a group promoting a more open electoral process, and will be moderated by talk show host Larry King.
“It’s a two-party system, but not a two-party system by law,” King said. Obama and Romney were also invited, but declined to attend.
The participants include former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson, former Virginia congressman Virgil Goode, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who ran against Romney in Massachusetts in 2002.
Since 1988, candidates have only been invited by the Commission on Presidential Debates to participate if polls find they have more than 15 per cent support.
So far, only one candidate has met that criterion, the billionaire Ross Perot, who debated Bill Clinton and George H W Bush in 1992.
Alternative presidential debates for third-party candidates have been held since 1996, but George Farah, author of No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates, says he “[doesn’t] remember one getting this much attention, having Larry King moderate it.”
A second third-party match-up will be held on October 30.
Up date: C-Span will broadcast the debate live starting at 9 PM EDT.
Follow debate on Twitter #thirdpartydebate