LEWISTON — John Jenkins said Tuesday that he'd been excluded from at least two gubernatorial debates, an issue that could make his write-in candidacy even more daunting than it already is.
Jenkins, a former mayor of Auburn and Lewiston, declared his write-in candidacy on Sept. 17, the filing deadline, according to the state's Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.
Jenkins said that he'd asked to participate in at least two debates, one held at Spectrum Generations in Waterville on Tuesday and another scheduled for Saturday and televised by WGME Channel 13.
Tom Humpage, the station manager for WGME, confirmed that Jenkins wouldn't be invited to Saturday's debate. He said only candidates who will be listed on the Nov. 2 ballot would participate.
Jenkins' inability to get into debates could hurt a Blaine House bid that's already considered a long shot. The former mayor has said his campaign is largely dependent on his Internet presence since it hasn't had time to generate money for advertising.
Despite the setback, Jenkins said he was hopeful his "groundswell of support" would persuade debate organizers to allow him to participate.
"They've got the tiger by the tail now," said Jenkins, who currently works as a motivational speaker.
According the Bureau of Corporations and Elections, Jenkins is one of four write-in candidates. Edwin Braley of Portland, Beverly Cooper-Pete of Standish and Martin Vachon of Mariaville have also declared their candidacies.