On Wednesday, Oct. 12, Republican Dennis Richardson and Democrat Brad Avakian, the leading candidates for Oregon Secretary of State, refused pleas to act on behalf of fair treatment of all candidates and parties.
Pacific Green Party candidate Alan Zundel confronted both men at the Portland studio of Oregon Public Broadcasting before the broadcast of an edition of “Think Out Loud” from which Zundel and other candidates had been excluded.
“OPB is a government-funded and tax-advantaged,” Zundel said of the encounter. “This means it should be held to a higher standard than other institutions, just as the Secretary of State should be held to the highest standard of fair treatment of all candidates and parties in an election.”
Zundel pointed this out to Avakian and Richardson, but they declined to take strong action on behalf of these principles.
“They said they would request that I be invited in, but they would not refuse to participate if I was not,” Zundel said. “They should have insisted that all candidates be invited when they were first asked, so they actually failed twice to act on behalf of fair treatment.”
Zundel had learned of the scheduled program just the previous day, when the two leading candidates mentioned it to him after a candidate forum in Eugene. He contacted OPB, but they rebuffed his request to allow the other candidates to participate, citing a need to limit the number of candidates interviewed.
“Dennis and Brad and I have participated in several candidate forums where all candidates were invited and things went perfectly fine,” Zundel said. “This putative need to limit candidate participation is completely phony, and they both know it.”
He added, “Before this I thought either man could do a good job as Secretary of State, and so focused my campaign on the need for electoral reform. Now I have serious doubts about them. If they won’t take a risk for fairness now, will they if one of them is elected?”