Post-Debate Interview with Jake Porter

During Wednesday’s gubernatorial debate in the DMACC auditorium, supporters of Hubbell and Reynolds took turns cheering and applauding when their respective candidate made a strong point. But the loudest noise came from outside the building.

Libertarian candidate for governor, Jake Porter. Photo courtesy

Jake Porter, the Libertarian party candidate who was not invited to participate in the debate, stood outside before and after the debate with his own supporters. Chanting “Let Jake Debate” and “Fake Debate: No Jake”, they represent the 7 percent of Iowans planning to vote outside the two-party system. According to RealClearPolitics, Porter is the highest polling Libertarian in any of the 36 gubernatorial races this year, and the only candidate for Iowa governor that has previously run for a statewide Iowa office.

Wednesday’s debate and Porter’s noticeable absence has been covered by most, if not all, of Iowa’s news outlets. Porter was invited by KCCI, but as a guest in the audience with an admission ticket. After the debate, he talked with the Chronicle about what he saw in the hour-long program.

“It was hard to not notice [Hubbell] steal my slogan four times throughout the broadcast.” Porter pointed out he has called himself ‘a governor for all Iowans’ which is displayed on his website and he states that during interviews as well. Hubbell consistently said during the debate he would be the governor for all Iowans.

“I think it lacked a lot of substance, maybe because they were only allowed 60 seconds [to respond], but I don’t think they wanted to get into too much detail.”

Porter said Hubbell and Reynolds were too negative. About Reynolds speaking out of turn and talking over the moderators, Porter said “I thought it was unprofessional . . . I felt it was rude to Fred [Hubbell].”

Porter kept returning to how disappointed he was in the lack of solutions offered by both candidates. “We talked about [Hubbell’s] taxes . . . they never discussed things like criminal justice reform. We talked a little about the budget but there wasn’t any solutions [offered] like going through and cutting the unnecessary boards and agencies . . . they only said ‘everything’s fine in the budget’ or ‘the budget needs fixing.’”

“I didn’t know it was a Republican value to keep growing government but I guess it is.” Porter said about Reynolds’ comments during the debate. “She believes she can centrally plan an economy.”

Porter said that an issue he thought both candidates addressed incorrectly was marijuana legalization; “When they look at something like marijuana [Hubbell and Reynolds] are not even going to look at decriminalization, it was just a flat no from them . . . there’s people that were caught with a joint years ago that are not going to get their voting rights restored.”

Bryan Sutton was one of the Porter supporters outside of the DMACC auditorium. He said he is there because the Libertarian Party is a recognized major party in Iowa, and any candidate from that party should be given any opportunity given to the other major party candidates. “All the time we have the government picking winners and losers, telling people what they can and can’t do . . . even how to run their private businesses.”

The next debate is in Sioux City on Oct. 17, and the final will take place on Oct. 21 in Davenport. Porter has had his invitation to the second debate rescinded, and was not invited to the third.

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