Pacific Green Party candidate Jason Levin got some online air-time when he strolled into Pamplin Media Group on Monday morning, demanding to be a part of the scheduled debate between Gov. John Kitzhaber and his challenger, Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Point).
While the Democrat and Republican nominees have booked seven joint appearances and debates, Levin said he’s only been invited to two: the Willamette Week’s event in Portland on Thursday and the League of Oregon Cities’ debate in Eugene this weekend.
“It’s really difficult to get into these kinds of events and introduce myself to the people,” he said.
Levin said he only received his nomination last month, and he’s had a hard time getting exposure. After being denied invitations to events in Portland and Bend, Levin decided to show up at the Pamplin debate uninvited.
Levin said he put on his best suit and told the receptionist that he was there for the debate. Pamplin was live streaming the event on YouTube, so you can see the candidates’ surprise when Levin comes into the room, asking to participate.
When the off-camera moderator tries to explain the debate only concerns Kitzhaber and Richardson, Levin turns to the camera to ask (rhetorically), “You don’t have time for a legitimate candidate who’s on the ballot to participate in a forum like this?” Then he proceeds to introduce himself; Levin said this was the first time that he’s met his competition.
“They both said it was fine, and I don’t think it really distracted too much from the two people who would be governor,” said Mark Garber, president of Pamplin’s newspaper division.
Garber said there were a lot of people invited to the press event, including campaign staff for Kitzhaber and Richardson, Pamplin and Eastern Oregon Media editors and reporters, and tech staff. He said the building is secure, but Levin telling the front desk that he was there for the event got him right in.
“I think because we were streaming it online, and we had let the public know we would be streaming it online, I’m sure that’s what prompted him to show up,” said Garber.