Dr. Steven Porter, the Erie County academic who was the Democratic nominee for the Third District Congressional seat in 2004 and 2006, has filed nominating papers to run this year as an independent.
Porter’s name on the ballot makes the race a three-way affair, joining Democrat Missa Eaton in challenging incumbent Republican Mike Kelly.
Porter says he walked 1,000 miles to collect signatures for his nomination papers and gathered more than enough, just in case legal “vultures” and partisan “hacks” challenge his bid to get on the ballot, according to a news release issued by his campaign.
“I’m sure they will gather gleefully to throw me off the ballot,” Porter said.
In his previous races, Porter was known for his candor and contrarian approach to the traditional niceties of the campaign. He mocked then-incumbent Phil English with a stuffed animal and complained loudly about the lack of support, financial and otherwise, for his efforts from the Democratic party.
English had some success criticizing Porter because of a philosophical tract he penned that presented arguments in favor of sterilization, prostitution and other taboo - at least for western Pennsylvania - subjects.
Judging from his press release, Porter remains an iconoclast. He said he faced “anger” and a “barrage of distrust and suspicion” from disgruntled voters as he gathered signatures. “At times it was directed at me personally, even though the people spewing their hatred didn’t know me,” Porter said.
He said the voters he talked to “have no idea how corrupt the major parties have become or how the nation has been damaged by the greed and dishonesty we find in all three branches of government. But when our schools fail to educate us, our media fails to inform us, and our elected officials fail to serve us, I really shouldn’t be surprised by the level of ignorance and anger.”
Porter challenged the major party candidates to debate him and the media to cover “a race where a third party candidate is trying to give voters a real choice.”
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Porter’s campaign isn’t about winning
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“I’m not a long shot. I’m a zero. I have no chance of winning because the public has no chance of hearing me or absorbing me,” Porter said in a recent interview.
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