David Curtis, the Green Party candidate for secretary of state, said he will show up at Wednesday's Sacramento Press Club luncheon debate featuring four of his rivals for the state's top elections post even though he wasn't invited.
Curtis, who the latest Field Poll shows leading two candidates included in Wednesday's lineup, has harshly criticized the press club on social media. He has challenged the organization's nonprofit status.
"I was very disappointed to learn that a social group of supposedly prominent journalists would feel it appropriate to exclude any candidates," Curtis said in an interview, adding that he only learned of the event after he saw a rival mention it on Twitter.
"That was just rude. They call me rude. Well, that's rude," Curtis added.
Wednesday's event is scheduled to feature two Democrats, state Sen. Alex Padilla and Derek Cressman, Republican Pete Peterson, and Dan Schnur, who has no party preference. Another Democrat on the ballot, suspended state Sen. Leland Yee, has been indicted for corruption and conspiracy and withdrawn from the race.
In a message posted on press club's Facebook page, president Juliet Williams said the group issued invitations to the event before the Field Poll's release. The group's board never heard from Curtis until he posted a Facebook message the weekend of April 12 . Before the board had a chance to respond, Williams wrote, "Mr. Curtis began a tirade of insulting and threatening social media posts about our organization.
"Upon receiving a phone call from our program director, Mr. Curtis became belligerent and rude, making a conversation impossible. Our decision was clear, given our intent to hold a civil and informative discussion on the issues in the race. Our organization is entitled to invite whichever speakers we choose and is under no mandate to invite everyone," Williams wrote.
Williams, a Capitol reporter for the Associated Press, noted that its panel mirrors the "four leading candidates" interviewed by the editorial board of The Sacramento Bee.
Tuesday, the San Diego-based Independent Voter Project called on candidates to boycott Wednesday's event.
"The club has justified its position by claiming that Mr. Curtis was 'rude,'" the group's leaders, former state Sen. Steve Peace and former Assemblyman Jeff Marston, wrote. "If so, it is for voters to pass judgement, not the Press Club. We speak from experience when we say every candidate has a right to make an ass of themselves, and the voters have a right to see it."
There has been only one previous forum for secretary of state's candidates, in Los Angeles on March 3. Curtis was one of six announced candidates at that event, which did not include two other people who will be on the June ballot: Democrat Jeffrey Drobman of Thousand Oaks and Republican Roy Allmond of Sacramento.
"They picked the ones that were most actively campaigning. That was the six of us," Curtis said of the March forum.