PORTLAND -- An Oregon U.S. Senate candidate was asked to leave a Willamette Week endorsement meeting after a heated exchange that began when he called out a reporter for writing "blah, blah, blah" in his notes as another candidate spoke.
The meeting included five GOP candidates--Mark Callahan, Joe Rae Perkins, Monica Wehby, Jason Conger and Tim Crawley--vying for Sen. Jeff Merkley's seat in the 2016 race.
Perkins joined the meeting by phone and after she answered a question, Callahan said she had just been disrespected by reporter Nigel Jaquiss.
"I see what you're writing down there, you just wrote down 'blah, blah, blah, blah, blah' for everything that Joe Rae said," Callahan said. "Joe Rae is a respectable woman. Why are you not respecting her?"
Callahan was then asked to move on to the next question and answer respectfully. (Tap for mobile video)
"You have to give respect in order to get respect," he said. "You're not giving very much respect to the five of us and our time here."
Tension then escalated a moment later when Callahan was asked whether he believed climate change was a myth. He said he did.
"Where are you on the Easter Bunny?" Jaquiss asked.
After a short exchange, Callahan called the panel "disrespectful, thin-skinned liberals" and he was asked to leave.
The newspaper endorsed Conger.
For his part, Jaquiss said Friday he took 15 pages of notes during the 100-minute meeting and only wrote the nonsensical notes while Perkins was discussing issues that were way off topic. (Tap for mobile video)
"I'm not a stenographer," he said.
He also said the Easter Bunny question might have crossed a line, but he doesn't regret it.
"He was being difficult," Jaquiss said. "He was asked whether he believed in climate change, he thought it was a myth. I frankly think he’s wrong about that, and I don’t think that was a serious answer...his behavior sort of mirrored my behavior."