Green Party Candidate in Maryland Escorted Off Debate Stage by Police

Dr. Margaret Flowers, Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in Maryland, is escorted by a University of Baltimore police officer / AP
October 27, 2016

The Green Party candidate in Maryland's Senate Race was escorted off the stage by police after she interrupted a televised debate Wednesday between the two major party candidates.

Dr. Margaret Flowers was not invited to be a part of the debate because she had not performed well enough in the polls to qualify.

The debate rules stipulate that a candidate must receive at least 15 percent support in the polls, according to CBS Baltimore, which also has a video of the incident. Flowers, 53, only received five percent in a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll this month.

The debate between incumbent Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Republican State Del. Kathy Szeliga, sponsored by the Baltimore Sun, the League of Women Voters, and the University of Baltimore, was about to start when Flowers stormed the stage.

Flowers stood between Van Hollen and Szeliga, who were behind their podiums, and kept talking about how she believed the debate was doing a disservice by not also including her.

"It's not a full discussion if you don't have all viewpoints included and I'm a valid candidate on the ballot, so I hope you and I appreciate you allowing me to be here today," Flowers said.

A moderator asked her to leave so that they could continue the organized debate, but Flowers repeated that she is a valid candidate with a statewide campaign. She added that she did not understand why she was not being included.

Officers were forced to physically escort her off the stage. Flowers kept talking the entire time.

"It's Dr. Flowers and I'm a candidate for U.S. Senate in Maryland, and this is how you're treating a candidate?" Flowers asked.

As she was being escorted out, Flowers kept yelling while Szeliga asked the moderators if another nearby podium could be used to include Flowers.

The winner of the race will replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.