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Green Party won't back its own candidate

The Pacific Green Party on Monday supported the withdrawal of its candidate, Jacksonville resident Art Krueger, from the state Senate District 3 race and announced it had previously decided not to support him.

On Sunday, Krueger announced he was withdrawing from the race after the Mail Tribune in September discovered that Krueger's election paperwork falsely claimed he had served on city councils in Jacksonville and in Auburn, Calif. Neither city had a record of him serving in such a role. Krueger did serve on the Jacksonville Planning Commission.

“Regrettably, at this late date, the candidate’s name will still appear on the ballot,” said Blair Bobier, spokesman for the Green Party, in a prepared statement. “Although the party finds itself in the unique position of asking voters to not vote for our candidate in this particular race, this election is too important for Greens and Green-minded citizens to sit on the sidelines.

Krueger’s name will appear along with the other candidates, state Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, and Dave Dotterrer, R-Ashland.

Bobier said the Green Party had already decided to withdraw its support for Krueger prior to his announcement.

Without specifying which candidate it would endorse, Bobier said his party recommends Greens support a candidate who shares their values, which include health care for all, a healthy environment, and an inclusive democratic process.

Krueger has blamed the incorrect statements on paperwork prepared by the Pacific Green Party, but Green Party officials say it’s the candidate’s responsibility to fill out the paperwork.

On Sunday, Krueger said he had documents proving the Green Party had filed the papers with the Oregon Secretary of State but didn’t provide further information on advice of his legal counsel.

The Senate race between Bates and Dotterrer is one of the most closely watched in the state and has the potential to shift the balance of power in the Legislature. Some believe it could be close enough between Bates and Dotterrer that Krueger could siphon enough votes to sway the outcome.

Republicans have poured money into Dotterrer's campaign in hopes of defeating Bates and creating a 15-15 split in the state Senate. Senate District 3 stretches from Ashland to Medford and includes all of south Jackson County. Bates defeated Dotterrer by 282 votes out of the nearly 50,000 cast in 2010.

Tony Green, spokesman for the Oregon Secretary of State, said it’s too late for a candidate to withdraw at this point. The deadline was Aug. 29 to withdraw a candidacy.

“You’re on the ballot,” he said. “If you get elected, you get elected.”

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@mailtribune.com. Follow on Twitter at @reporterdm.