Senate candidate seeks injunction against UMass over debate snub

Lowell Sun |

CAMBRIDGE — Shiva Ayyadurai, an entrepreneur who launched a challenge for U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s seat as a Republican before switching his party affiliation to independent, is seeking a preliminary injunction against the University of Massachusetts hoping to stop scheduled debates from which he says he is being blocked.

Ayyadurai filed a lawsuit last week against UMass, which is co-hosting a debate between Warren and her Republican opponent Geoff Diehl on Oct. 20. He alleged the university system was attempting to rig debates by keeping him from participating and, in doing so, violated his constitutional rights.

On Friday, Ayyadurai also filed a request in federal court for a preliminary injunction to prevent the debate while the legal matter is resolved, his campaign announced Monday. Ayyadurai said the court will await a response from UMass and tentatively scheduled a hearing for Oct. 3 before Judge Richard G. Stearns.

Ayyadurai is on the November ballot as an independent candidate.

“In the US Senate race, three are on the ballot, but only two get to be on the debate stage?” Ayyadurai said in a Monday press release. “How is this fair to the citizens of Massachusetts, the nearly 20,000 who signed our nomination papers, and the American people?”

Warren and Diehl have agreed to participate in three televised debates ahead of the Nov. 6 general election. UMass is co-sponsoring the Oct. 20 debate, while the other two have different hosts.

A representative for UMass could not be reached immediately for comment.

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