Pay to Play in City Races?

Mayoral candidate Liv Osthus sharply criticized an upcoming mayoral debate for excluding candidates who have not reached 750 donors.

Maja Viklands Harris Avatar
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Mayoral candidate Liv Osthus sharply criticized an upcoming mayoral debate where participation is contingent on candidates having reached 750 individual donors, the threshold for unlocking a $100,000 match from Portland’s public campaign financing program.

Osthus, who has raised $19,600 from nearly 400 donors, said she was not invited to the event and was unsure if she would meet the requirements by the deadline.

“Obviously I knew this was the nature of the machine and I’m not terribly surprised, but I am disappointed,” Osthus wrote on Instagram, calling the approach “gross.”

“Democracy should NOT be pay to play,” she added.

While Osthus didn’t disclose the organizer of the debate, such screening requirements are expected to become prevalent in candidate forums and debates this fall.

A screenshot posted by Liv Osthus of the participation requirements for an upcoming mayoral debate

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