IPO works to recruit third party members
About a month after winning the Pacific Green nomination for governor, Alex DiBlasi withdrew from the race, registered as a member of the Independent Party of Oregon and endorsed IPO nominee Patrick Starnes.
Starnes, a Brownsville cabinetmaker, and DiBlasi, a Portland social worker, hope the step will be the first among thousands of other members of small third parties to join the IPO. Their union could help them have influence in state politics as part of a major party, Starnes said.
"We need all hands on deck to go against these corporate-backed Republican and Democratic candidates who each have at least a million or two million in the war chest, both of them," DiBlasi said.
The IPO became a major party in 2015 after independents comprised 5 percent of registered voters eligible to vote in the November 2014 general election.
Starnes and DiBlasi said they envision these third parties, along with the state's large number of nonaffiliated voters, coalescing under the IPO umbrella to accomplish common goals.
One of those common goals is enacting state campaign finance limits.
"There will probably always be some fringe issues that we will never have some common ground on, and that's fine," Starnes said. "As long as we can stay focused on the common ground like the campaign finance reform, health care reform, PERS reform, education reform, all of the issues that I have been talking about."
Members of minor political parties will continue to have pet issues, DiBlasi said, but "within a broader independent umbrella, these could serve as caucus committees."
DiBlasi won the Pacific Green nomination June 3.
He went to the Oregon secretary of state office in Salem Friday, July 20, to withdraw from the race and to register as a member of the IPO.
This year, IPO officials have pushed for inclusion of their nominee in gubernatorial debates. They have even threatened to take legal action if debate hosts fail to follow state law requiring them to invite all state candidates from major parties, or report a campaign contribution to candidates who were allowed to participate.