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SIOUX CITY -- With a debate with two gubernatorial candidates playing out without him in Sioux City on Wednesday, Libertarian Party nominee Jake Porter lambasted the process that he says works against people not in the major political parties.

Before the debate with Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Fred Hubbell, Porter in a Sioux City interview said he was initially invited to participate in the KTIV-sponsored event, but then the invitation was rescinded.

He said "the criteria was really bizarre," including that he had to poll at 15 percent in a gubernatorial poll. He noted his name has not been included in any statewide poll.

"The good thing is we've gotten more media coverage because we haven't been invited to the debate," Porter said. He spent the last two days speaking with several Iowa media outlets.

Porter said it is unfortunate he won't be in the debate, because Iowans would enjoy his leavening influence as Hubbell and Reynolds talk.

The first debate in Des Moines "was very negative. I think I could keep it more positive, bring up some issues in there," he said.

Porter said he would have touted his top two issues, which include keeping corporate welfare out of a sound state budget, and criminal justice reform, such as restoring voter rights for some felons who have served their sentences.

The Libertarian Party gained official party status in Iowa, and with it a spot on the governor ballot, after the 2016 elections. Porter, a 30-year-old business consultant from Council Bluffs, said he's been a Libertarian since he was a teenager in 2004.

"The benefit of being a minor party is that you can bring up these issues and force the debate to go that way a little bit," he said.

Porter unsuccessfully ran for Iowa secretary of state as a libertarian in 2010 and 2014.

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County & Education Reporter

Government and education reporter.

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