The Green Party nominee for Senate in Washington is Aaron Dixon. Last week, Dixon was arrested at a local television station for entering the lobby and demanding that he be included in a televised debates between his Democratic and Republican opponents. Dixon talks about his arrest, and says Democratic representatives tried to bribe him to drop out of the race. [includes rush transcript]
The Green Party nominee for Senate in Washington is Aaron Dixon. Last week, Dixon was arrested at a local television station for entering the lobby and demanding that he be included in that station’s televised debates between Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell and Republican Mike McGavick. Aaron Dixon joins us now from a studio in Seattle.
- Aaron Dixon. Green party candidate for Senate in Washington State.
AMY GOODMAN: Aaron Dixon now joins us from a studio in Seattle. We welcome you to Democracy Now!
AARON DIXON: Hello, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Well, describe what happened.
AARON DIXON: Well, on the day of the debate, I and 50 volunteers and supporters from our campaign went down to KING 5 TV studios. While the supporters were outside, I saw an opportunity to go in the door where the debate was taking place, and I went in, and I was confronted by several security personnel. At that point, I requested that I be allowed to participate in the debate, because I am running for U.S. Senate. They refused, and I asked to speak to a supervisor, someone that was in charge, so that I could explain to them why I felt that I should be included in the debate. After being given the runaround for several minutes, they called the police department, and the officer showed up and said that he would have to escort me out. I told him that I refused to leave, and then I was arrested.
AMY GOODMAN: And what were you charged with?
AARON DIXON: Well, I wasn’t really charged with anything. They said that they were arresting me for being on the premises without permission.
AMY GOODMAN: Because it’s private property?
AARON DIXON: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Who owns KING 5?
AARON DIXON: It’s owned by a large corporation. It used to be owned by the Bullitt family. I’m not quite — Belo owns it now. thank you.
AMY GOODMAN: I am looking at the video footage now, and for our radio listeners, you can go on our website and you can watch Aaron Dixon being arrested. But it looks like there were a lot of people outside with signs that say, for example, "Let Dixon debate." Who were the people outside? How many were there?
AARON DIXON: There were about 50 supporters and volunteers of the Aaron Dixon for U.S. Senate campaign.
AMY GOODMAN: And so, where does it stand right now? And what were the responses of the Democratic and Republican candidates to you being arrested, trying to participate in the debate?
AARON DIXON: Well, they totally ignored it. They didn’t say anything about the incident whatsoever.
AMY GOODMAN: Why did you want to participate in the debate?
AARON DIXON: Well, because I felt that my voice needed to be heard, that there needed to be a different perspective than the perspective of the two parties that we hear from all the time, and that I felt that I should not be excluded merely because my campaign was not able to raise a million dollars.
AMY GOODMAN: A million dollars?
AARON DIXON: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: What were the requirements?
AARON DIXON: That was one of the requirements. That was one of the requirements, that you had to have —
AMY GOODMAN: Set by whom?
AARON DIXON: KING TV.
AMY GOODMAN: So they are determining who gets heard in this senatorial race?
AARON DIXON: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about your background, Aaron Dixon. Why did you get involved in Green Party politics? Where do you come from?
AARON DIXON: Well, I was a member of the Black Panther Party for ten years during the late '60s and ’70s. And over the past 20 years, I've worked with at-risk youth and gang-involved youth. I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to South America and participate in the World Social Forum in Brazil and Venezuela.
And when I was approached by the Green Party about running for U.S. Senate, you know, running as a political candidate is something that I never wanted to do, never felt that I had any inclination to do, but I felt that it was time in this country that we began to introduce the concept that we have a multi-party system and that we provide the American people with more choices than what we have now, particularly more progressive choices that are delivering a different type of message than the message that we get from the Republican Party and the Democrat Party.
AMY GOODMAN: Have you had any contact with the Democratic candidate, with Maria Cantwell? And what has been their response to your Green Party candidacy?
AARON DIXON: Personally, no. I haven’t had any response from her, but we have had responses from people in her campaign that have offered money for me to drop out of the campaign.
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean, offered money? Who offered you money?
AARON DIXON: Well, there was a candidate, an antiwar candidate named Mark Wilson, and Mark Wilson and I had crossed paths on many occasions. He was running as a Democrat, and he had said in several instances that after the primary that he would throw his support my way. But about a month ago, Mark Wilson joined the Maria Cantwell camp, and shortly after that, he made a call to me personally and asked that if I would be willing to drop out, that they would raise — that there were people in Maria’s camp that would raise a lot of money for the nonprofit that I founded.
AMY GOODMAN: What is that nonprofit?
AARON DIXON: It’s called Central House. We work with at-risk youth, and we have a transitional housing program.
AMY GOODMAN: So they would throw a fundraiser for you, or they would just raise money for your nonprofit.
AARON DIXON: Yes, they would raise money for my nonprofit.
AMY GOODMAN: Did you consider this?
AARON DIXON: No. No, I didn’t. No, I didn’t consider that at all.
AMY GOODMAN: So, are you saying they tried to bribe you?
AARON DIXON: Yeah. I received at least three or four calls from Mr. Wilson and someone else in Maria Cantwell’s camp on a regular basis about dropping out.
AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think they see you as a threat? How close is the race?
AARON DIXON: Well, I think because of what happened with Ted Lamont defeating —
AMY GOODMAN: Ned Lamont.
AARON DIXON: — Ned Lamont, excuse me, defeating Lieberman, I think that there was some concern that, because of Maria Cantwell’s support on the war, that she would possibly be in trouble and that her Republican challenger, Mike McGavick, seemed to be running a well organized campaign.
AMY GOODMAN: So, what are your plans now? Are there any other debates planned? And how are you campaigning for Green Party candidate for Senate in Washington state?
AARON DIXON: Well, there is another debate scheduled for Maria Cantwell and Mike McGavick in Spokane. I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do about that. But we have continued to run our campaign. We just finished a statewide tour, talking to a lot of rural communities. For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to concentrate our work in Seattle and outlining areas of Seattle and continue to campaign and work towards getting as many votes as we possibly can.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, Aaron Dixon, I want to thank you very much for joining us, Green Party candidate for Senate in Washington state, joining us from a studio in Seattle.