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US Senate candidate Savage confronts WMTW on debate exclusion: “What are you scared of?”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday October 29

For more info: Sam Pfeifle, 207-749-0298, sam@lisaformaine.org

On Wednesday evening, Lisa Savage, the independent Green candidate in Maine’s Senate race, showed up at the WMTW TV station in Westbrook with a procession of supporters to deliver a petition with more than 2,500 signatures demanding that Savage be included in the night’s scheduled debate. WMTW had decided to exclude her, illegally inviting only the establishment party candidates. In a dramatic encounter captured in a livestream broadcast on the campaign’s Facebook and Instagram pages, Savage was stopped by WMTW employees who refused to accept the petition or answer Savage’s questions about why she was excluded.

“Can you explain why I can’t be allowed into the debate tonight?” Savage asks. 

“No, I can’t explain it because I’ve just been told not to admit anybody to the property other than employees or invited guests,” replies the employee, who identified himself as Greg Roehr, WMTW Director of Engineering.

“So do you agree with that decision?” Savage asks. 

“I’m an employee of the station and I do as I’m told to do,” answers Roehr, before refusing to take the petition from Savage.

“I’m just asking for my First Amendment rights in a democracy,” says Savage. “This is a ranked-choice voting race and the voters of Maine are being ill-served by holding a debate in which candidates on the ballot are excluded from the debate. That is undemocratic, it is unconstitutional, and it certainly does not show a free press.”

“I think money has a lot to do with why I’m not being allowed into this debate,” Savage continues, “so I don’t really think it would cost anything for WMTW to take my petition and see the many, many names of Maine voters who wanted to see me debate.”

“What are you scared of?” Savage asks. “I’m here to discuss why a majority of the people of Maine want Medicare for All, they want climate emergency treated like it’s an emergency, and they don’t think that millionaires in the Senate understand what they’re struggling with or know what their needs are. And so I’m here as just a citizen, a retired school teacher trying to participate in an election and in a debate as part of my First Amendment free speech, free press rights.”

Turning to address her supporters, Savage says, “To the children that are here tonight, I’m sorry that you had to witness this travesty of democracy -- but now you know what you’re up against.”

After laying their petition at the feet of the WMTW employees who refused to take it, Savage and her supporters gathered nearby, as the livestream broadcast continued, to discuss some of the ways that the entrenched political establishment and some in the media have undermined her insurgent grassroots campaign by failing to inform -- or misinforming -- the people of Maine, to the benefit of the establishment party candidates that have spent nearly $200 million to bombard voters with negative messaging.

You can watch Lisa Savage’s confrontation with WMTW and message to supporters on her campaign Facebook and Instagram pages.

Find information about Lisa Savage, her policy positions, background, and how voters can support her people-powered campaign at www.LisaforMaine.org.

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