Brown, Buehler face off for last debate; Starnes plans protest
Gov. Kate Brown and state Rep. Knute Buehler go at it again Tuesday night in the final debate before voters get their ballots for the Nov. 6 election.
It's the last of three debates, the first two in early October in Portland and Medford.
Recent polling suggests the two candidates are essentially tied. With 17 percent of likely voters still undecided, both have an opportunity to show Oregonians why he or she is the right choice.
One candidate who will not have that opportunity is Patrick Starnes of the Independent Party of Oregon. Starnes was excluded from the final two debates. However, he's not going out without a fight, and plans to show up at the debate with supporters in a last-minute attempt to be on stage. Although Starnes was part of the Oct. 2 debate at Roosevelt High School in Portland, students who asked questions of the candidates directed most of those questions to Brown and Buehler. Starnes wasn't deterred, and provided responses to many of the questions.
In a Monday, Oct. 8, news release, Starnes' campaign called for a protest of the debate at KGW TV's Southwest Jefferson Street studio in downtown Portland. The debate is organized by KGW and The Oregonian/OregonLive.
In Starnes' news release, he said KGW staff told him that a poll showed him at 4 percent, and the cutoff for the debate was 10 percent. Amara Moon, a volunteer staffer for Starnes' campaign, said that's partly because Starnes' publicity has been stymied by debate organizers such as KGW. "If he had been given equal time to this point, his polling would be different," she said, adding that KGW declined to give details on the poll it cited. "They are making up their own little criteria," Moon said. "It doesn't seem right. Oregonians want to hear from all candidates."
Starnes points to voters affirming the Independent Party of Oregon as a third major party in 2015 and about a third of registered voters in Oregon being unaffiliated with the Republican and Democratic parties. "This status allows the Independent party to participate in state funded primary elections just like the other two major parties," according to the news release. "It should also mandate its inclusion with equal participation in all debates."
Moon said Starnes would show up at the TV studio around 6 p.m., Oct. 9, and hoped to have at least 50 supporters with him.
Tuesday's debate will feature questions from the public submitted to moderators. It starts at 7 p.m. and runs an hour. Questions will be fielded by both candidates, and the debate will air live on KGW.