Anger over the National Rifle Association blocking gun safety legislation following yet another fatal mass shooting boiled over at TEDxPortland event.
"Organizers of the lecture and music event TEDxPortland angered some audience members by giving independent candidate for governor Betsy Johnson, who in the past earned an A rating from the National Rifle Association, an unannounced spot in its event lineup Saturday," The Oregonian reported. "The group also appeared to have run afoul of IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt non-profits from giving any political candidate preferential treatment."
The newspaper noted Johnson could potentially have some wiggle-room as she has not yet officially qualified for the ballot by collecting signatures but noted it is "something no one doubts an established officeholder with her financial backing will accomplish."
"Johnson, who voted against gun safety bills as a Democrat in the Oregon Senate and mentioned being a gun owner during her TEDxPortland talk at the Moda Center Saturday afternoon, drew jeers, boos and shouted demands for gun control during her time on stage," the newspaper noted.
David Rae, the nonprofit's president, was interviewed by The Oregonian.
The newspaper reported, "By inviting the career politician with nearly $9 million in backing from Oregon powerbrokers including Nike co-founder Phil Knight and a host of timber millionaires, he said, 'We are just trying to offer an intimate conversation in front of 7,000 people with a courageous woman, right?' In the days since a shooter used an assault weapon to brutally kill 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school, much of the national conversation has revolved around gun safety legislation, which made the timing of Johnson’s appearance at the non-political event particularly fraught."
Tina Kotek is the Democratic Party nominee for governor and Christine Drazan is the GOP standard bearer.
KGW reporter Evan Watson posted photos and video from the event on social media:
\u201cTEDxPortland: In a surprise and unannounced decision, #TEDxPDX brings non-affiliated Oregon Governor candidate Betsy Johnson on stage for an interview\n\nAfter a few questions, audience members shout for her to address gun control, pushing her on her past record #Audac10us @KGWNews\u201d— Evan Watson (@Evan Watson) 1653763100
\u201cPART 2: Johnson mentioned being a gun owner and representing gun owners in her district before turning the answer to thoughts on the mental health crisis, which sparked some cheers but also more frustration for some #TEDxPDX @KGWNews #Audac10us\u201d— Evan Watson (@Evan Watson) 1653763100
\u201cPART 4: The #TEDxPDX host says they\u2019re not going to solve gun control in 4 minutes, adding this is \u201cnot a debate, this is not @KGWNews.\u201d\n\nStill, a tense crowd at the Moda Center. Johnson was not listed on the speaker agenda or in the program for today\u2019s schedule.\u201d— Evan Watson (@Evan Watson) 1653763100
\u201cFor context, here\u2019s our latest @KGWNews report on the Oregon Governor candidates and where they stand on gun control.\n\nJohnson said today that the type of gun \u201cdoesn\u2019t dictate its lethality.\u201d The NRA gave her an A rating in 2018. \nhttps://t.co/wZ2WEj1IKu\u201d— Evan Watson (@Evan Watson) 1653763100