Officials with Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign said Monday that he will not come to Portland for a debate scheduled next week.
The Oregon Republican Party is sponsoring the debate with OPB and the Washington Times as media partners. The debate has been sanctioned by the Republican National Committee, and it's scheduled to air nationally on PBS, next Monday.
But sources involved in debate plans have confirmed word out of Mitt Romney's campaign -- that the former Massachusetts governor, and Republican frontrunner, won't come.
In an e-mail, a Romney campaign aide said the candidate will be in Illinois on March 19, which is the eve of that state’s primary, but that Romney looks forward to campaigning in Oregon before this state's May election.
Debate organizers say they're continuing to talk with the three other candidates. Organizers say it's possible Romney will change his mind, if the other candidates participate. And they say it's possible the debate would happen without Romney.
The only confirmed debate participant so far is Newt Gingrich.